Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations
March 5, 2012: Ferguson Pleads Guilty to Wire, Mail Fraud in Hollywood Body and Laser Center Case
SALT LAKE CITY – William Ricker Ferguson, age 52, of Orem, entered guilty pleas to one count of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud in U.S. District Court Monday afternoon in connection with a fraud scheme involving a business known as Hollywood Body and Laser Center in Sandy.
In Monday’s hearing before U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups, Ferguson admitted that the business offered several services and products to clientele, including laser hair removal and dispensing of HCG. As a part of the business operation, he obtained the signature of a medical doctor on a prescription form and photocopied that form. He admitted that he, or employees acting at his direction, then used the prescription forms to obtain quantities of HCG from a pharmacy in Florida.
Ferguson’s plea agreement includes a sentencing recommendation of 48 months in federal prison. Judge Waddoups will decide whether to accept the sentencing recommendation at a sentencing hearing May 17, 2012, at 2:30 p.m. Restitution will be considered as a part of the sentencing hearing.
Ferguson and Ashley Choate, 21, of Midvale, were charged in a 26-count indictment returned in August with 13 counts of mail fraud and 13 counts of wire fraud in connection with the fraudulent prescription scheme. The wire fraud counts related to faxing the prescriptions from the business in Sandy to the pharmacy in Florida. The mail fraud counts corresponded to the shipment of the HCG from Florida back to Sandy.
According to the indictment, Ferguson was the owner and controlling authority of the business, which is self-described as “Utah’s largest facility using the world’s most advanced, state-of-the-art, FDA approved advanced technology to safely and effectively restore the beauty that enriches our lives.” Choate was employed as a “master esthetician” and office manager. She was listed as the owner of the company on an application for a business license filed in Sandy on April 1, 2011.
The case against Choate is pending.
The case was investigated by the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Sandy City Police Department, and the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.