A Florida woman unlicensed for medical care performed laser facial plastic surgery and did plasma-injecting "Vampire face lifts," federal, state and Polk County cops say.
Polk County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested Jesusadelaida "Jesse" Lopez and charged her with five counts of unlicensed practice of a healthcare profession last week. They also arrested Dr. Sualeh Kamal Ashraf, who runs a Drop It Like It's Hot weight loss clinic in Winter Haven for employing an unlicensed nurse.
Both Lopez and Ashraf posted bond. The 62-year old has no previous discipline history on his 17-year-old Florida medical license. Lopez's registered pharmacy technician license also lacks blemishes other than being expired since Dec. 31, 2014.
Still, Lopez advertised medical procedures and medical marijuana sales on social media. The sheriff's office says it learned about Lopez from DEA and Florida Department of Health investigators looking into unlicensed medical activity at the Drop It Like It's Hot franchise and that controlled substances were being mishandled. The latter resulted in the DEA suspending the clinic's use of weight loss drug Phentermine.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
Investigators claim they didn't find Lopez operating on the hush-hush about what she offered. In fact, they say, they found her online — a lot.
At least three Facebook pages boasted of Lopez as Drop It Like It's Hot owner, offering medical marijuana consultations as "Dr. Compassionate 420." Investigators claim the pages included photos of Lopez in medical scrubs and of framed certificates with "Jesse Lopez, R.N."
Lopez never has been licensed in Florida as a registered nurse. Nor has she been licensed to do what investigators say they saw on social media posted videos and photos: Lopez slicing a mole off a patient's neck with a scalpel; using a laser on a woman's face above the words "facial rejuvenation;" injecting a substance into a woman's face above the words "Vampre lift."
"PCSO located four victims, three of whom stated they were seen by Lopez at the clinic, and never seen by or met the medical doctor who works there," the Polk County Sheriff's Office said. "The three victims believed Lopez was a registered nurse or a doctor, and that she owned the clinic."
They told investigators Lopez gave each prescription medication with syringes to inject herself, a prescription for Phentermine, two injections of what Lopez called "Lipo-C" and a compound Vitamin B shot. Total charge: $150.
PCSO says two undercover investigators dropped by Drop It Like It's Hot to talk about weight loss and the Vampire face lift. As they perused walls with "Jesse Lopez, R.N." certificates, Lopez gave them an explanation of the Vampire face lift, a common procedure.
She told them, "blood is drawn from the arm, the plasma is separated from the blood, and the plasma is then injected into the face in the areas where the patient wishes to reduce wrinkles."
They said she also showed them a laser machine used for removing scars and hair; a cavitation machine, which uses high frequency sound waves to reduce fat; and a machine used for stem cell injections.
Before they left, they said, they made a June 23 appointment for a Vampire face lift, agreeing to pay $1,200.