A 73-year-old woman was sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday after she admitted to performing cosmetic facial and buttock enhancements on at least five individuals by using “toxic silicone” that can travel through blood vessels and cause a stroke, death or permanent disfigurement, authorities said.
Gladys Araceli Ceron, of Andover, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns and received two years of supervised release in addition to the prison time. The judge reserved judgment on restitution for a later date.
Ceron pleaded guilty to five counts of delivery for pay of an adulterated or misbranded medical device received in interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead in April.
“For 15 years, Ms. Ceron chose to make money by injecting her cosmetics customers with toxic silicone – all the while knowing that by doing so she was exposing them to serious harm, disfiguration and potentially death,” acting U.S. Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell said in a statement. “We are committed to protecting the health and safety of the public, and the sentence imposed by the court shows that people who callously put people at great risk of harm will be punished.”
Despite pleading guilty to only five counts, prosecutors estimate that hundreds or thousands of individuals may be victims of the illegal injections Ceron performed, according to court documents.
From approximately 2004 to 2019, Ceron, who operated her business in Lawrence, performed illegal bodily injections using “gluteal material” that she obtained from a source in Florida, authorities said.
Lab tests of the material confirmed that it contained silicone oil – a substance that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns can travel through blood vessels and cause a stroke, death or permanent disfigurement.
In May of 2018, Ceron spoke to an individual about the costs associated with the buttock enhancing and facial injections during a recorded meeting. Ceron said she charged $500 for buttock injections and $60 for each wrinkle-filling injection.
The conversation prompted a search of Ceron’s business in Lawrence the following month. Authorities seized several bottles and syringes filled with silicone oil. Numerous uncapped and used syringes were also recovered from the business.
Ceron admitted to performing the illegal injections on five victims in exchange for money, authorities said. She also admitted to misleading them about her qualifications as well as the identity and safety of the material she was injecting.
“Injecting silicone oil not approved for human use can result in serious bodily injury or death,” Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration Jeffrey J. Ebersole said in a statement. “We will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who offer this dangerous product to the public.”