Bad Botox case results in prison time for nurse
A nurse who worked with former Lake Oswego Dr. Jerome Lentini was sentenced in a Portland federal courtroom this week to a year in federal prison for her role in using an unapproved form of botulism toxin.
Cathryn Lyn Garcia along with her co-defendant Lentini, formerly of 4 S.W. Touchstone in Lake Oswego, used two unapproved forms of botulism toxin on patients. Reportedly, more than 800 patients at clinics in Tigard and Salem were injected with unapproved forms of botulism toxin.
Investigators found the duo treated more than 800 patients with one of the two substances between November 2003 and summer 2004.
Originally, Lentini and Garcia were indicted on charges of mail and wire fraud, misbranding drugs and aiding and abetting. At one time, each faced 53 counts of the various crimes.
Patients were told they were being treated with Botox, a federally approved drug used to smooth wrinkles caused by aging.
On Monday, Garcia pleaded guilty to misbranding a drug, a federal misdemeanor. U.S. District Judge Ancer L. Haggerty ruled that she intentionally tried to defraud patients into using the unapproved drugs.
Garcia received the maximum sentence. In a plea agreement with the government, Lentini forfeited his license to practice medicine and agreed to spend 18 months in prison. Both Lentini and Garcia must also pay restitution to their patients, estimated to be at least $350,000.
'We believe these plea agreements send a strong signal to our medical professionals: You must uphold your trust with your patients to keep them safe and to live up to the safety requirements set by federal law,' Karin Immergut, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, said earlier this year.
The FBI and the Food and Drug Administration's Criminal Investigations unit also played a role in investigating and prosecuting the crimes.