A Northern California woman posing as a nurse gave patients Botox injections and other cosmetic treatments — leaving her unsuspecting victims with “significant facial deformities,” some of which could last a lifetime, according to prosecutors.
Susan Ann Tancreto, 60, treated clients at a spa and elsewhere in Redding, telling them she was a nurse, the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office said in a Facebook post Wednesday. But Tancreto wasn’t licensed and never has been, according to prosecutors.
Tancreto’s Botox and filler injections resulted in “severe injury” to her patients, “who now require long term medical treatment,” prosecutors said.
“One of the victims, after seeing a surgeon who conducted a biopsy, learned that Tancreto injected silicone into her lips,” the district attorney’s office said, adding that “as a result, she now may require lifelong treatment to treat the injury sustained to her lips.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved silicone injections for wrinkles or to “augment tissues anywhere in the body,” prosecutors said — and no one who is unlicensed is allowed to inject Botox.
“Physicians may inject Botox, or they may direct registered nurses or physician assistants to perform the injection under their supervision,” according to the Medical Board of California. “No unlicensed persons, such as medical assistants, may inject Botox.”
Tancreto faces eight felony charges, including mayhem, battery with serious bodily injury, practicing medicine without a license, selling or transporting a controlled substance and dissuading a witness, the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office said.
She pleaded not guilty to the charges during a Thursday court appearance, the Redding Record Searchlight reports. Prosecutors said at least three people were treated by Tancreto.
“She is a very fine person and a good mother,” Joe Gazzigli, Tancreto’s defense attorney, said on Thursday, according to the Record Searchlight. “I am surprised by the case because, again like I said, she is a very fine person, good mother and good wife.”
Dr. Larry Pyle, who prosecutors accused of selling Tancreto the Botox, faces a charge of aiding or abetting in the unlicensed practice of medicine.
Tancreto had been telling patients she was a nurse who worked for Pyle, according to prosecutors.
“Dr. Pyle did not examine the individuals who were receiving Botox and/or filler treatments from Tancreto to ensure they were appropriate candidates to receive such treatment,” prosecutors said.
But Tancreto didn’t just get Botox from Pyle — she also purchased it from online retailers outside the United States, according to prosecutors.
Beyond the Botox and fillers, Tancreto is accused of dispensing other drugs like Valium to patients.
Prosecutors said the charges are based on FDA and California Department of Consumer Affairs investigative reports, which were completed after a complaint was made against Tancreto.
Prosecutors encouraged anyone who might have been treated by Tancreto to come forward because of the “danger posed to the public health by the nature of these allegations.”