A cut-rate doctor has been busted in New York City for allegedly luring women to the Dominican Republic for cheap plastic surgery, leaving many of them disfigured and in pain, the New York Post reported Thursday.
Hector Cabral, 51, who is not licensed to practice medicine in New York, has allegedly been collecting victims since at least 1999.
Back then, a Manhattan singer told the Post he performed liposuction on her and left her with a near-deadly infection.
He was not charged at the time, but investigators with the state attorney general's office have now charged Cabral in four other cases.
"It's hard to believe there aren't more victims," a law enforcement source said.
Officials said Cabral would seek out his prey in salons and spas throughout the five New York City boroughs, but he collected most of his patients in Upper Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood, which has a large Dominican community.
A fixture at the shops, he would chat up female customers and then whip out his black marker on the spot to indicate where on their bodies they needed a tuck or liposuction, court records showed.
He used cheap prices as bait, officials said, and his patients would then fly down to his office in Santa Domingo for the surgery.
But the thrifty medical procedures came at a steep cost. The women suffered substantial pain, scarring and permanent disfigurement afterward, authorities said.
Cabral was arrested Monday on charges of unauthorized practice of a profession, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The timing of his bust was particularly inconvenient. He had already scheduled several consultations for the week, law enforcement sources said.
A woman who answered the phone at his mother's home in Yonkers and identified herself as a housekeeper defended Cabral.
"I think all this is a big mistake -- he's a wonderful man," said the woman, Maria Jimenez.
"In the Dominican Republic, he's been a licensed doctor for almost 20 years. He went to France to get a degree in plastic surgery," she added.