A San Francisco man who impersonated a doctor was on Wednesday convicted of 33 felonies, including sexually assaulting a patient and performing fraudulent medical procedures, according to the District Attorney's office.
Carlos Guzmangarza, 53, assumed the identity of a physician’s assistant and passed himself off as a plastic surgeon at Derma Clinic on Mission Street in San Francisco. Prosecutors say he used the guise as a way to sexually assault sedated patients and perform unlawful surgeries.
Court records tell a grisly story of fraudulent surgeries that could have turned deadly.
In 2010, a woman went to see Guzmangarza for an eyelift and liposuction, prosecutors said. After charging her $3,000, he had the victim hold her own IV bag during the procedure while he smoked a cigar, according to court records. Her abdomen never healed correctly and became infected.
The documents also state that Guzmangarza later showed up at the victim’s house with the fat taken during the liposuction and dumped it down her toilet.
Multiple victims stated that Guzmangarza gave them pills and then sexually assaulted them. One of them said that he would say the sexual assault was "a necessary part of the procedure," according to prosecutors.
"This is an individual whose lies and deceit caught up with him," said Assistant District Attorney Evan Ackiron. "There are many survivors of this man’s grotesque crimes, and this verdict would not have been possible without their bravery."
In total, 10 victims testified against Guzmangarza during the trial, nine of whom he treated. He stole the identity of the final victim. Some of his victims realized he was a phony after seeing news coverage of his arrest, prosecutors said.
Guzmangarza was originally charged with four felony counts of practicing without a license until more victims came forward, prosecutors said.
"We put enormous trust in our doctors," said District Attorney George Gascón. "Impersonating a physician in order to gain that trust, illegally perform invasive procedures, and then take advantage of these vulnerable patients is a perversion of this noble profession."
A sentencing date has not yet been set. Guzmangarza faces up to 36 years in prison.