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Queens Spa Owner Pleads Guilty to Illegally Performing Surgery

Barbara Nieto, 29, pleaded guilty to illegally performing liposuction on a woman in March 2010.
Barbara Nieto, 29, pleaded guilty to illegally performing liposuction on a woman in March 2010.
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CORONA — The owner of two Queens spas pleaded guilty Wednesday to illegally performing liposuction on a woman, causing her to get a life-threatening infection.

Barbara Nieto, 29, who owns two spas in Corona, but is not licensed to practice medicine — performed surgery on a 23-year-old woman at Perfect Image Stethics at 40-63 Junction Boulevard in March 2010, removing fat from her stomach area and then injecting it into her buttocks, the Queens District Attorney's office said.

The woman suffered a high fever several days later and eventually went to Flushing Hospital where she was diagnosed with bilateral buttock abscesses and underwent surgery.

“The defendant held out the false promise of being able to provide her victim with a more attractive appearance," said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown in a statement. "Instead, she nearly caused the death of the young woman by performing medical procedures for which she was neither licensed to perform nor capable of performing.”

The woman, who was in the hospital for five days after the emergency surgery, could have developed a life-threating septic infection had she not gone to the hospital, the district attorney's office added.

More than 100 people signed consent forms for Neito to inject substances into their buttocks, but none of these people underwent the liposuction or injections, according to the district attorney's office.

Nieto is expected to receive a two-year prison term when she is sentenced on Aug. 8 in Queens Supreme Court. She will also sign a confession of judgment for $130,000 and pay an additional $50,000 in restitution.

“The unfortunate reality of these unsafe procedures can be lifelong deformity and even death," said New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley in a statement. "We urge anyone considering cosmetic surgery to have it performed by a licensed, reputable health care provider.”