SAN FRANCISCO – A California man who allegedly posed as doctor and performed liposuction while smoking a cigar pleaded not guilty Tuesday to several felony charges.
Carlos Guzmangarza, 49, was arrested Thursday after allegedly impersonating a physician's assistant named Carlos Guzman, who actually exists, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Guzmangarza was accused of setting up a fraudulent medical practice on Mission Street in San Francisco, which he said he was running under the supervision of a doctor.
Prosecutors said neither the doctor or Guzman was affiliated with the clinic, and Guzmangarza never had a medical license.
Guzmangarza allegedly performed liposuction on a woman in 2010 after quoting her a price of $3,000 -- much lower than other city doctors.
Prosecutors said he smoked a cigar during the procedure and made her hold her own IV bag. During the procedure he also used his hands to pick up some of the fat he had sucked from her body after it fell on the floor.
A few days after the surgery, Guzmangarza came to the woman's home and asked her to flush six pounds (2.7kg) of her own fat, which he said he removed during the procedure, down the toilet, according to prosecutors.
The woman sought the help of a real doctor when her abdomen became infected and that was when she learned Guzmangarza was a fraud, prosecutors said. She has since undergone corrective surgery.
Prosecutors said Guzmangarza also treated the woman's daughter for acne by injecting an unknown substance into her face.
It is thought Guzmangarza may have undergone medical training in Mexico.
"We're very happy to get this person off the street," said Dan Wood, a spokesman for the Medical Board of California, said.
"The invasive medical procedures that he was conducting could be life-threatening. In the case of this woman, she developed a severe infection that she had to go to a licensed medical professional to get taken care of. Had she not done that, it could have gotten worse and she could have possibly died."
Guzmangarza was charged with practicing medicine without a license, assault with force likely to cause great bodily harm and battery, false impersonation, identity theft and grand theft.
After appearing in the San Francisco Superior Court Tuesday, Guzmangarza was held on $750,000 bail. He will return to court Jan. 4.