ATLANTA - Deanna Roberts has pleaded guilty to four felony counts of possessing, transporting, and ultimately illegally injecting persons with liquid silicone and four felony counts of introducing into interstate commerce liquid silicone, which was an adulterated device. One of the women the defendant injected with liquid silicone died about 36 hours after receiving the injection when the silicone migrated to her lungs, heart, brain, and other organs.
“Roberts admitted that she caused the death of one person by injecting her with liquid silicone, and that she also injected liquid silicone into multiple other people, putting their lives at considerable risk,” said U. S. Attorney John Horn. “Before undergoing any type of medical procedure, patients should ensure they have consulted a licensed medical provider who is qualified to provide care.”
“Liquid silicone injected into individuals’ bodies can cause serious bodily injury and death, and FDA has not approved any such product for tissue augmentation,” said Justin D. Green, Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations’ Miami Field Office. “We remain fully committed to bringing to justice those who offer dangerous and unapproved products to American consumers.”
According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the indictment, and other information presented in court: Between April 2004 and December 2015, Roberts purchased at least 178 gallons of liquid silicone. Liquid silicone is strictly regulated by the FDA, and may be legally injected directly into the human body only as a treatment for certain eye conditions.
In April 2004, Roberts began ordering liquid silicone from a business in Arizona. In order to purchase liquid silicone from the business, Roberts submitted an affidavit to the company in which she falsely swore that she did not intend to inject the silicone into humans. Rather she claimed that she intended to supply the silicone to a customer for use in lubricating medical equipment.
On multiple occasions, Roberts transported liquid silicone to the Atlanta area and injected it into the hips, buttocks, and other body parts of her victims. Roberts falsely claimed to her victims that she was a licensed medical practitioner.
During the evening of November 16, 2015, Roberts injected liquid silicone into the buttocks of victim L.H. The next day L.H. complained of tightness in her chest and shortness of breath, symptoms that are consistent with the presence of liquid silicone in the lungs. During the early morning hours of November 18, 2015, L.H., died.
Dr. Geoffrey Smith, Associate Medical Examiner for DeKalb County, performed an autopsy on L.H. Based upon the autopsy Dr. Smith determined that L.H. died from complications due to silicone polymer embolization. Dr. Smith found that L.H.’s lungs were heavily congested with liquid silicone. In addition, Dr. Smith found liquid silicone in L.H.’s liver, kidney, heart, brain, and spleen. Dr. Smith noted that each of L.H.’s buttocks had 10 injection sites.
From a microscopic examination of tissue surrounding one of the injection sites Dr. Smith determined that a blood vessel had been punctured. The evidence, therefore, established that the defendant punctured the blood vessel with one of the silicone injections and that the silicone was carried by the blood stream to L.H.’s lungs and other organs causing her death.
· On November 16, 2015, the defendant illegally injected liquid silicone into the buttocks of victim J.T.
· In November of 2014, the defendant injected liquid silicone into the buttocks of victim V.M.
· In October of 2014, the defendant injected liquid silicone into the face of victim S.P.
However, J.T., V.M., and S.P. did not die from their injections.
Sentencing for Deanna Roberts, 47, of Sanford, Florida, is scheduled for May 24, 2017, at 2:00 p.m., before U.S. District Judge Orinda D. Evans.
This case is being investigated by the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, the Doraville Police Department, and the Atlanta Police Department.
Assistant United States Attorneys William L. McKinnon, Jr. and Erin Sanders are prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov
or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.