As the preliminary hearing of Carlos Guzmangarza on charges of practicing medicine without a license and a host of other crimes continued this week, prosecutors called Douglas Becker, an investigator for the Medical Board of California, to the stand.
Becker conducts criminal investigations concerning medical licenses in California, and he was responsible for investigating Guzmangarza, who allegedly performed plastic surgeries without a license and defrauded women of thousands of dollars.
Becker described an interview he conducted in the summer of 2011 with a woman who said she had received an eyelift and liposuction from Guzmangarza in 2010. According to Becker, the woman spoke to several plastic surgeons before receiving a quote from Guzmangarza. She allegedly negotiated with Guzmangarza on price before paying him $3,000 for the procedures.
Becker testified that the woman claimed Guzmangarza told her the procedures would be easy to do and showed her diplomas and degrees from medical school. Becker also said the woman gave him a business card she received from Guzmangarza that listed his name as Carlos Guzman PA-C.
PA is a common abbreviation for physician’s assistant.
According to Becker, the woman said she received three treatments from Guzmangarza at his office at 2590 Mission St. The first she described as a pre-op procedure, during which she said Guzmangarza injected her with a substance around her eyes and took pictures of her face.
Becker said she described a second procedure, in July 2010, during which she received an eye threading procedure designed to remove fatty tissue beneath her eyes. Becker said the woman told him after the procedure that her eye and face became purple and blue and was very painful for a month. He also testified she told him that holes made on the top of her head for the procedure continued to leak.
In July of 2010, the woman allegedly said, she received an abdominal liposuction treatment from Guzmangarza. Becker testified that she told him she had been asked to hold the IV bag while he attached it to her body. After Guzmangarza injected her with local anesthesia, the woman told Becker, they walked three blocks to get coffee. At this time Guzmangarza allegedly began smoking a cigar and the patient also smoked a cigarette.
Becker said the woman described Guzmangarza’s gloves as unclean during the liposuction. At one point Guzmangarza allegedly encountered difficulties and wanted to stop, but the woman told Becker she demanded that he complete the procedure.
The woman allegedly told Becker that she had an infection of some sort, and after seeking evaluation from a plastic surgeon, flew to Nicaragua for treatment.
Becker also said the woman told him that Guzmangarza came to her house and told her he had six pounds of her fat from the procedure and allegedly flushed it down her toilet.
During the morning’s direct examination, public defender Michelle Tong made repeated objections to the testimony based on hearsay, most of which were overruled by the judge.