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Why are so many unlicensed doctors, medical personnel arrested in Florida?

Dr. Jonathan Berman says fraud especially acute in medical field
Posted at 6:20 PM, Jun 18, 2024

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — After four people were arrested in a case of botched cosmetic surgeries at a location in Port St. Lucie, WPTV began looking into the issue of unlicensed medical incidents.

WPTV investigative reporter Dave Bohman found that South Florida and the Treasure Coast have had their share of clinics busted and people who operate them arrested in the last decade.

Last month, Miami police arrested Angelina Andreoli, 29, after they said she posed as a doctor and provided Botox and lip-filling injections. Investigators said she didn't have a license and isn't a doctor.

In West Palm Beach in 2014, Dr. William Marrocco was charged for allowing unlicensed assistants to perform breast enhancements and facelifts, leaving patients in pain and disfigured. Marrocco and his assistants were later convicted, and the clinic shut was down in 2017.


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Then in 2019, St. Lucie County sheriff's deputies busted Jose Espinoza-Aleman, who was later convicted of working as a dentist without a license.

Deputies said he toted his dental equipment in a toolbox, adding that some patients complained his work led to severe infections.

Then there's the case of Malachi Love-Robinson that drew national headlines. Love-Robinson was convicted in 2018 of posing as a doctor and treating patients in West Palm Beach when he was just 17 years old.

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WPTV wanted to know why South Florida and the Treasure Coast has been plagued by so many phony doctors, especially when it comes to cosmetic surgery. Bohman asked licensed plastic surgeon Dr. Jonathan Berman, who said fraud is especially acute in his field.

"It's a very easy way to make a quick buck," Berman said. "And one of the nice things about Botox, is it's short-acting. It only lasts for three months, so you can take your money and run, if you really wanted to be less than scrupulous."

Police investigators said those practicing medicine without licenses charge less than licensed doctors, making them more affordable and since they lack credentials, more dangerous.

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