The preliminary hearing for Carlos Guzmangarza, accused of impersonating a physician’s assistant to perform cosmetic procedures on women whom he allegedly defrauded of thousands of dollars, continued Monday with grisly testimony from one of the victims.
The 49-year-old Guzmangarza is charged with running a Mission District business called Derma Clinic, where he allegedly posed as a physician’s assistant named Carlos Guzman who was qualified to perform plastic surgery. He is now in custody in lieu of $1 million bail.
One of Guzmangarza’s alleged victims, questioned by public defender Michelle Tong, described a harrowing experience of being injected through her eyebrow and forehead until the needle poked out on top, during what she believed was a facelift at Guzmangarza’s clinic at 2588 Mission St. in 2010.
Another alleged incident took place at Guzmangarza’s home, where the witness said Guzmangarza performed a buttock augmentation procedure near his dining room table, with his mother present in the house.
“I felt a bit of mistrust,” the Spanish-speaking victim said through a translator. Guzmangarza, known to the victim as “Dr. Carlos,” allegedly had her stand while he injected her buttocks with liquid to make them “bigger.”
Subsequently, she said, she endured an infection in her buttocks that lasted one year. She testified that she went back to Guzmangarza to “help her heal.” He injected her two more times, she said, telling her that one buttock was larger than the other and that he needed to make it fuller.
The victim, wearing a red and white varsity jacket, also testified that Guzmangarza used toilet paper and glue to seal her wounds.
During one procedure he allegedly broke off a piece of a cannula, a tube that is often used to extend a needle’s, into her right buttock and left it in place; nine months later, it protruded from her skin and she was able to grab it to remove it.
After the victim finished testifying, Assistant District Attorney Evan Ackiron called Lt. Carlos Sanchez to the stand. Sanchez had testified previously but was called back to explain an alleged incident in which another victim gave Guzmangarza up to $20,000 for procedures and as an investment in his practice.
The victim paid $10,000 for a breast and buttock augmentation and liposuction, which were allegedly performed by Guzmangarza in Tijuana, Mexico, in January 2011.
According to Sanchez’ testimony, the victim could not recall who actually performed the procedures in Mexico. However, Guzmangarza allegedly took a flight with her from San Francisco to San Diego, and then a train to Tijuana. They arrived at a clinic, and Guzmangarza was dressed for an operation and was present when the victim was put under anesthesia.
Several months after the procedure, Guzmangarza allegedly contacted the victim and asked if she would like to invest $25,000 in his practice. According to Sanchez’ testimony, Guzmangarza told the victim she could make $3,000 for each person she helped bring to Mexico for procedures.
The victim did not at first agree to the arrangement, Sanchez said, but Guzmangarza repeatedly called to tell her he had another investor in mind. One day the victim met with Guzmangarza and they drove in separate cars to a shopping center parking lot, where she allegedly gave him $10,000 in cash and Guzmangarza gave her an invoice representing her initial investment. That day was the last she heard from him.
The victim tried to contact Guzmangarza between February and June 2011, Sanchez said, with no response.
Guzmangarza is charged with 17 felonies, including practicing medicine without a license, identity theft, assault, rape, sexual penetration by an unknown object against the victim’s will and unlawful oral copulation. Nine alleged victims are currently connected with the case.
The preliminary hearing, with the Hon. Loretta M. Giorgi presiding, will continue at 9 a.m. tomorrow in Department 26 at the Hall of Justice, 850 Bryant St.