DENVER (CBS4) – A surgical assistant posing as a cosmetic surgeon in Denver pleaded guilty to felony charges in district court Friday.
Carlos Hernandez Fernandez, 37, pleaded guilty to second degree assault and criminal impersonation, both felony charges, along with unauthorized practice of physician, a misdemeanor.
In a plea deal with prosecutors, Hernandez Fernandez agreed to pay approximately $175,000 in restitution to the dozens of victims on whom he illegally operated.
The charges to which he pleaded guilty were just three of the 126 counts with which he had been charged. Prosecutors will dismiss the remaining counts.
"No comment," Hernandez Fernandez said to a reporter in Spanish as he walked out of the courtroom after his plea hearing.
The fake doctor will return to court in June, when a judge will decide how much prison time to hand down.
Under his plea agreement, the maximum time Hernandez Fernandez could spend in prison is 6 years. Prison time will be followed by 3 years of parole.
The June 2 sentencing is also his deadline to pay the court-ordered restitution that will split among his 37 known victims.
"I think it is a small amount," said Antonio Lucero, one victim's attorney, of the restitution amount. "But it also has to be tempered by the fact that he may be going to prison, and it's better to get something than nothing."
Lucero represents one of the victims who underwent a cosmetic procedure at Hernandez Fernandez's clinic on Federal Boulevard prior to his August arrest. Since then, the clinic had been shut down.
Some of the victims have ongoing medical costs from the damage caused by the fake doctor's scalpel, Lucero said.
"When they found out he was not a doctor, many of them felt violated," Lucero added.
His client previously sat down with CBS4's Karen Morfitt, sharing her painful experience with the mini tummy tuck that Hernandez-Fernandez performed without anesthesia.
Through Lucero as an interpreter, the victim said that the lesson learned was to investigate surgeons' credentials prior to moving forward with cosmetic surgery.
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