Department of Justice
Southern District of Florida
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 27, 2022
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A Caguas woman, 55, was sentenced today to one year probation, $10,000 fine, and $1,393.75 of restitution for offering illegal buttock injections to prospective clients at Belleza Vital Spa Inc. d/b/a Belleza Vital Estetic (“BVE”), a business she operated in Caguas, Puerto Rico.
According to court documents, Debra Esteves-Meléndez, who was not a licensed physician or other medical practitioner, offered buttock injections to prospective clients at Belleza Vital Estetic and made false statements to her clients as to the safety of the material that she was injecting with the intent to defraud and mislead. The products the defendant injected into her clients were purchased and shipped from Colombia to Puerto Rico.
In or about September 2021, Esteves-Meléndez possessed material at BVE which was tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and determined to contain polydimethylsiloxane, or silicone oil, a medical device under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).
“Injecting illegal material such as liquid silicone without the involvement of a medical professional endangers consumers and violates the law,” said W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work closely with the FDA to investigate and prosecute the illegal dispensing of misbranded material and unauthorized drugs.”
“Liquid silicone injected into individuals’ bodies can cause serious harm and even death, and FDA has not approved any such product for body contouring,” said Special Agent in Charge Justin C. Fielder, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Miami Field Office. “We will continue to aggressively pursue and bring to justice those who endanger consumers by offering this hazardous procedure in order to enrich themselves.”
The Food and Drug Administration investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Erbe, Chief of the Financial Fraud and Public Corruption Section prosecuted the case.
Health Care Fraud
USAO - Puerto Rico