A Bradenton woman purporting to perform medical and cosmetic procedures, including injecting patients with Botox, out of her home has been arrested.
Diane D’Anca, 61, claimed she was working under a license held by a “Dr. Tom,” but her home clinic was illegal, and the “Botox” was, in fact, fake, according to Bradenton police.
Information from an anonymous source to the Florida Department of Health prompted an undercover investigation in November, police reported.
Investigators served a search warrant on Dec. 19 at a home in the 3200 block of 63rd Street West that belonged to D’Anca, where a back bedroom had been converted to resemble a medical office, according to police.
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Officials found a “large amount” of medical supplies and medications along with records for about 100 patients. Police also found a substance that was reportedly “Botox,” a drug made from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, according to MedlinePlus.gov. The drug is often used in cosmetic procedures and to treat some health issues.
However, investigators determined the substance was not, in fact, “Botox,” but an imported, non-FDA regulated counterfeit drug. Injection records found in the home dated back to 2011, police said.
D’Anca was arrested on charges of practicing medicine without a license, practicing cosmetology without a license and possession of a controlled substance. Florida Department of Health investigators also issued D’Anca a cease and desist order and citation, Brad Dalton, press secretary for the FDOH, said in an email to the Bradenton Herald.
Investigators found several vials of counterfeit Botox in a garage refrigerator, according to the probable cause affidavit. She told officials she was ordering the drugs from Canada for approximately two years.
D’Anca told investigators she is not licensed, but “operates under the permission of ‘Dr. Tom.’” Officials were not able to confirm Dr. Tom’s identity.
She said she was told by a “doctor friend” that she could perform the procedures if she was working under the license of a doctor.
“Throughout the course of the interviews with her, she was very confident that she had done nothing wrong,” Lt. Brian Thiers, a spokesman for the Bradenton Police Department said in a press conference Wednesday. “She was very aware that she was injecting Botox and felt that she knew exactly what she was doing and saw nothing wrong with what she was doing.”
In addition to Botox, D’Anca also performed micro abrasion procedures, according to the affidavit.
People who came to D’Anca for procedures never saw a licensed doctor for a consult before coming to her home, according to the affidavit.
Becky Wittenmyer lives across the street from D’Anca’s home and said she didn’t see a lot of cars going to or from the home.
“You would think there would have been a lot of traffic, you know, people coming and going but that wasn’t the case,” Wittenmyer said.
Thiers said investigators are not sure how many people may be victims but are urging those who have had procedures performed by D’Anca to come forward.
“You are a victim, I can’t stress that enough, you were misled you were led to believe this woman had the ability and the training to do this and she did not,” Theirs said.
One victim, Thiers said, paid D’Anca $36,000 over the years but officials are pouring through her meticulous records to determine how much money she made performing the procedures.
Police are still going through evidence collected from D’Anca’s home, Theirs said.
An office manager at Dr. Jack Jawitz’s office in Bradenton confirmed that D’Anca had previously worked for Jawitz as an esthetician who performed cosmetic procedures on and off for more than 10 years, but exact dates were not immediately known. She was eventually fired from her position, the office manager said.
Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation online records show D’Anca held a cosmetologist license between November 2002 and October 2006, but the status is currently listed as null and void.
Kathleen Keenan, deputy director of communications for Florida DBPR said in an email to the Bradenton Herald that there are no other licenses that are more up to date in D’Anca’s name.
Manatee County court records also show D’Anca plead no contest to one count of fraudulent use of a credit card, a third-degree felony, in 1992.
Unlicensed medical activity can be reported to the Florida Department of Health at 1-877-425-8852.
Police are asking anyone who received treatment from D’Anca or knows someone who did to call the Florida Department of Health at 727-552-1145.
Anyone with information regarding the police investigation is asked to call Detective Carl Jones at 941-932-9351 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consumers can verify licenses of cosmetologists or other professions on the DBPR website or by calling the DBPR Customer Contact Center at 850-487-1395.