Two years in prison for spa owner posing as plastic surgeon

September 24, 2012

Two years in prison for spa owner posing as plastic surgeon
Two years in prison for spa owner posing as plastic surgeon

Another botched plastic surgery conducted by an unlicensed individual has come to light in New York. This time, it's the case of spa owner Barbara Nieto, who operated a facility in Queens. She was posing as a plastic surgeon, offering to give her clients a butt lift and liposuction by transferring fat from one part of the body to another, charging a fee of $500. Several took the bait, and at least one paid the consequences.

Augusta Velez-Jimenez agreed to allow Nieto to perform the two cosmetic procedures on her on March 20, 2010, the New York Post reports. The experience landed her in the hospital with a life-threatening septic infection.

Nieto appeared in court on September 13 to face charges of unauthorized practice of a profession and second-degree assault. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison. She's also agreed to pay $180,000 in restitution to all of her victims, District Attorney Richard Brown told the news source.

"I want to apologize for what I did...Have mercy on me. This is my first offense," Nieto said in court, according to the Post.

This is just another example of why it's essential for patients to ensure that the surgeon performing their cosmetic procedure is board-certified to practice plastic surgery. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, those considering plastic surgery should never choose a doctor based solely on price.

By selecting an ASAPS member, patients can rest assured that their surgeon has both the training and the experience necessary to perform safe, successful plastic surgery. Individuals considering a procedure should always speak to their doctor about possible risks and side effects of surgery, so there are no surprises during their recovery period. 

The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to

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The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world's leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; Active Members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. International Active Members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.


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