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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Woman gets probation, fined for offering illegal buttock injections

U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico W. Stephen Muldrow

By The Star Staff

A Caguas woman, 55, was sentenced Thursday to one year of probation, a $10,000 fine, and $1,393.75 in restitution for offering illegal buttock injections to prospective clients at Belleza Vital Spa Inc., which was doing business as Belleza Vital Estetic (BVE), a business she operated in Caguas.

The information was provided by federal officials.

According to court documents, Debra Esteves-Meléndez, who was not a licensed physician or other medical practitioner, offered buttock injections to prospective clients at BVE and made false statements to her clients as to the safety of the material that she was injecting with the intent to defraud and mislead. The products the defendant injected into her clients were purchased and shipped from Colombia to Puerto Rico.

In or about September 2021, Esteves-Meléndez possessed material at BVE which was tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and determined to contain polydimethylsiloxane, or silicone oil, a medical device that is regulated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

“Injecting illegal material such as liquid silicone without the involvement of a medical professional endangers consumers and violates the law,” said W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work closely with the FDA to investigate and prosecute the illegal dispensing of misbranded material and unauthorized drugs.”

“Liquid silicone injected into individuals’ bodies can cause serious harm and even death, and FDA has not approved any such product for body contouring,” said Special Agent in Charge Justin C. Fielder of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Miami Field Office. “We will continue to aggressively pursue and bring to justice those who endanger consumers by offering this hazardous procedure in order to enrich themselves.”

The FDA investigated the case.

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