A man accused of posing as a medical professional and sexually assaulting women in San Francisco’s Mission District was convicted of 33 felonies and eight misdemeanors by a San Francisco jury today.
Carlos Guzmangarza, 53, of San Francisco, now faces 36 years in state prison for charges ranging from practicing medicine without a license to sexually assaulting his patients, identity theft, grand theft, assault with force causing great bodily injury, and false impersonation.
Guzmangarza was originally charged with four felony counts of practicing medicine without a license, but as more victims came forward after his 2011 arrest, including two women who had been sexually assaulted during the fraudulent medical procedures, additional charges were added.
In total, 51 charges were submitted to the jury, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Assistant District Attorney Evan Ackiron, who prosecuted the case, said Guzmangarza holds no medical credential or license.
“This is an individual whose lies and deceit caught up with him,” Ackiron said in a statement released today. “There are many survivors of this man’s grotesque crimes, and this verdict would not have been possible without their bravery.”
Guzmangarza took nude photos, digitally penetrated and raped clients while performing plastic surgical procedures including liposuction, facelifts and buttock augmentations on a mostly Spanish-speaking clientele, according to prosecutors.
During the trial, presided over by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Michael Begert, 10 victims testified, including nine women who Guzmangarza operated on and the physician’s assistant whom he impersonated.
Additional charges against Guzmangarza included rape, forced oral copulation, sexual battery and assault, according to prosecutors.
Prior to Guzmangarza’s arrest on Dec. 22, 2011, the defendant allegedly posed as a licensed physician’s assistant while operating a dermatology clinic on Mission Street in San Francisco called the Derma Clinic in the 2500 block of Mission Street.
He also allegedly claimed a real doctor was his partner in the clinic without that doctor’s knowledge.
In some of the cases the alleged sexual incidents appear to have occurred while the women were asleep or unconscious after receiving injections and pills from the defendant, according to Ackiron.
The victims believed Guzmangarza was a doctor and many only realized there was a problem and reported the incidents after seeing news coverage of his arrest in 2011, Ackiron said.
Among the victims who testified, was a woman who said Guzmangarza performed a liposuction procedure while smoking a cigar and making the client hold her own IV bag, and then later dumped what he said was six pounds of fat removed from her body down the victim’s toilet.
That victim’s abdomen later became infected and she was forced to see another doctor. Only at that point did she learn that Guzmangarza was not a real doctor. She has since undergone corrective surgery, according to prosecutors.
Neither the real doctor, who practiced in the San Francisco Bay Area, nor the real physician’s assistant was affiliated with the defendant’s illegal clinic, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
One victim said the defendant offered a price of $3,000 to perform liposuction, which was far lower than quotes the victim received from area doctors, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Deputy Public Defender Michelle Tong, who represented Guzmangarza in court, said during closing arguments last week that some of the victims appeared to be initially more concerned with the low price that Guzmangarza was willing to charge for the elective surgeries than his licensing and credentials.
Guzmangarza also allegedly provided pills to at least one victim, incapacitating her and then sexually assaulting her, according to prosecutors.
Guzmangarza sexually assaulted another woman seeking skin treatment during three procedures.
Guzmangarza would apparently tell the victim that the sexual assault was a necessary part of the procedure.
The defendant has been in-custody since his arrest in 2011.
“We put enormous trust in our doctors,” said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon today. “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
Guzmangarza’s sentencing date will be set this afternoon, according to the district attorney’s office.
Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News