Crime

First Medicare fraud, now illegal Botox shots. Miami woman convicted of both.

Gabriela Alegria
Gabriela Alegria Miami-Dade Corrections

Gabriela Alegria was already headed to prison for Medicare fraud. Now, she’ll also be going for giving illegal Botox injections.

The Miami woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to practicing medicine without a license and other felonies, and will be sentenced March 7. She faces at least one year in state prison.

Alegria, a mother of two who was in school to be a nurse, last year pleaded guilty in Miami federal court to money laundering in a Medicare fraud case. She had been arrested in July in a scheme that is believed to have defrauded the government of more than $700,000.

While she was out on bond and awaiting sentencing, Alegria was targeted by Miami-Dade police investigating illegal cosmetic procedures, which like Medicare fraud is a thriving underground industry in South Florida.

Prosecutors said Alegria, 49, was arrested as she was about to give a Botox shot to an undercover Miami-Dade detective, posing as a customer needing a fill in the eyebrow area, at the woman’s home in West Kendall.

After that arrest, Alegria was brought back to federal court and was sentenced to 37 months in prison.

In the past decade, Miami-Dade County has become a hotbed for both Medicare fraud and illegal cosmetic procedures, each producing a steady stream of high-profile arrests.

Last year, the feds broke up what they said was a $1 billion Medicare scam, believed to be the largest in U.S. history. In May, Miami-Dade detectives arrested a suspected sham doctor for performing a butt-enhancement injection that claimed the life of a 28-year-old woman.

The U.S. Attorney’s office held a press conference in Miami on July 22, 2016, announcing the filing of charges in connection with a $1 billion Medicare care fraud scheme.

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