Local Cosmetic Center Accused Of Misleading Patients

Neck lifts, tummy tucks, laser skin rejuvenation are just some of the services offered at an Encinitas non-surgical cosmetic center.

The center has advertisements that say, "Look 10 Years Younger."

But are those empty promises?

You may have seen ads from Body Solutions, America's premier non-surgical cosmetic center.

They have been circulating fliers throughout the North County and into San Diego proper.

"Under the supervision" of a doctor, the advertisement says, "All cellulite procedures performed by certified Endermologie/VelaShape technicians."

However, one former Body Solutions employee has a different story.

"I was doing Endermologie and Velasmooth treatments on paying clients as of my third day of being an employee there," said ex-employee Susan Straus.

Straus worked for Body Solutions in New York. They also have offices in Florida and their newest clinic is in Encinitas.

Body Solutions advertises Thermage tummy tucks, microdermabrasion, laser vein removal and other skin enhancement procedures.

10News' Elizabeth Sanchez asked Straus, "Did you see any danger in you performing these procedures?"

Straus said, "It was a little scary."

Sanchez asked, "Can you damage a person without the proper training?"

"Yes, absolutely," Straus said.

Straus said the New York clinic operators offered to train her at their in-house laser training institute.

The cost for the training was almost $10,000.

10News learned Straus would be able to do Thermage tummy tucks and face lifts, though New York State's education department says the training institute is not accredited.

Even worse, the state's enforcement arm is currently trying to shut down the clinics completely, alleging 16 violations of professional misconduct.

All of these problems in New York made 10News wonder about the practices of their newest clinic in Encinitas.

10News asked dermatologist Dr. Mitchel Goldman, who has seen the ads from Body Solutions. He thinks the ads are misleading

“You have to be realistic," said the doctor, pointing to one of the ads.

"We can just look at this procedure after 20 Endermologie procedures. That could only occur if the patient also lost 30 to 40 pounds," said Goldman.

Two of 10News staff members went to the Encinitas clinic to do some preliminary research. They didn’t know it was the I-Team doing the questioning.

10News Managing Editor JW August observed, "There were no doctor's certificates on the walls anywhere."

They spent a lot of time talking about their expertise. 10News I-Team producer Kristen Castillo said, "(The receptionist) said they have lots of training."

10News did confirm the clinic's advertised promise of a free consultation -- they will provide this.

This free consultation is one of their sales techniques.

It attracted Donna Bradley, who is from New York.

"I went in for a free consultation on Thermage treatment," said Bradley.

Bradley said she was highly pressured into signing a contract.

"She was throwing a bunch of paperwork my way, saying, 'Go talk to your husband. I'll get the paperwork ready in the event he says yes, you call me back,'" said Bradley.

Bradley called back to say no, but she got nowhere.

The free consultation for a tummy tuck ended up costing Bradley an arm and a leg.

"I had nothing done. I was in the office all of 15 minutes and they sent me a bill for $6,500," said Bradley.

So, did they try to strong-arm the undercover 10News team at the Encinitas clinic?

August said, "She didn't do a hard sell. I think she was just trying to feel us out."

Castillo made an appointment for microdermabrasion, but when she asked for the name of the person performing the procedure, she was told she couldn't have the information.

Why not? That's reasonable, and a reason for 10News to return with reporter Elizabeth Sanchez for an unscheduled visit to the clinic and talk to the doctor in charge.

Front desk personnel refer Sanchez to the manager, a woman named Pamela.

Sanchez identifies herself as a 10News reporter and asks Pamela, "We just want to know: who is the doctor on staff? She nods no, she can’t. Our reporter said, “You should be able to tell me who the doctor is."

Pamela relents, sayings it's "Dr. Steven Kadet."

"Is he licensed in California?" asked Sanchez.

"I’m just the manager. Please leave," said Pamela.

10News checked on Kadet and found that he is a medical doctor licensed in Florida. However, he wasn't licensed in California when the clinic opened late last year and when 10News began its investigation.

10News learned that Kadet was just granted a license in California this month and medical professionals told 10News that supervising a clinic without a California license is illegal.

If you go to their Web site and review their ads, you will find a woman in a white coat -- Aurora Pandolfo.

Pandolfo's title is certified endermologist, or C.E.

Don't let that impress you, a weekend seminar gets you a certificate.

One of the clinic's founders, George Anastassiou, is also a C.E. and 10News learned that he used to sell used cars.

The New York clinic is accused of offering medical procedures without a medical license, 10News learned.

In addition, 10News contacted California's medical board to report what their investigation found.

10News contacted the doctor who is supposed to be running the Encinitas clinic, but have received no response.

In addition, 10News has left messages for the attorneys representing Body Solutions, but no response from them as well.

CLARIFICATION:

This 10 News I-Team investigative report centered on a company called Body Solutions, which is based out of New York and has opened a clinic in Encinitas.

We would like to clarify this is NOT the same business as Advanced Body Solutions on the same street in Encinitas.

Located at 740 Garden View Court, Suite 207, Advanced Body Solutions has never been accused of any wrong-doings, and has never been the subject of a 10News I-Team report. We apologize for any confusion this story may have caused.

You can see the Advanced Body Solutions Web site at www.advbodysol.com

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