x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Fake plastic surgeon is jailed

A disgraced doctor who passed himself off as a prominent US plastic surgeon and performed botched operations on his kitchen table has been sentenced to two months.

One of Moos's victims shows the damage to her lips following a botched operation.
One of Moos's victims shows the damage to her lips following a botched operation.

DUBAI // A disgraced doctor who passed himself off as a prominent US plastic surgeon and performed botched operations on his kitchen table was sentenced to two months in jail yesterday. The Dubai Court of Misdemeanours found that Steven Moos had forged American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital business cards, and used them to impersonate the Hollywood surgeon Dr Steven Hopping.

Moos was struck off as a doctor in the US in 2004 and was not licensed by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). He had been facing a maximum three-year sentence for the forgery charges and a further maximum of three years for illegal practice. The court, however, sentenced him to a month for each. Moos was arrested in February after passing himself off as Dr Hopping to a number of patients in Dubai. Police said he had been running a clinic out of his villa in Al Barsha and was performing surgeries on his kitchen table.

The DHA said Moos was trading on Dr Hopping's name and reputation as a top US surgeon. The real Dr Hopping visits Dubai three or four times each year to perform surgery at the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital in Dubai Healthcare City. It is unclear when Moos arrived in the country but police said he had previously been arrested in Sharjah. He was released on bail while his criminal file information was verified. He continued, however, to work out of his villa until his re-arrest in February.

Moos was detained after an undercover investigation by the DHA and Dubai Police after a tip off. Authorities in the US had been seeking his arrest since he was struck off six years ago. The FBI and Interpol want him on charges including drug possession and trafficking, crimes against life and health, and giving false statements to the US government. The charges related to a 2003 lawsuit brought by the Oregon attorney general, Hardy Myers, that claimed Moos violated consumer protection laws and illegally imported human growth hormone from China.

He was also accused of claiming that a gel he sold on the internet contained the same active ingredient as the anti-impotence drug Viagra. The FBI website featuring Moos's charges and personal details has been updated to read "captured". However, his extradition date is uncertain as he is facing at least two civil suits from patients who suffered botched surgeries, according to public prosecution sources.

One former patient yesterday said she was "disgusted" with the two-month jail sentence. The woman, in her 30s, was left with scarring after Moos performed what should have been a simple procedure on her lips. She said he used equipment that was not sterile and has left her lips numb. "He should pay for what he did, he destroyed the lives of many women," she said. "He pretended to be someone he was not, and tricked people into thinking he was licensed. How can he only be given two months? He deserves to spend years in jail."

The woman, who declined to identify herself, said she had submitted medical reports to Dubai Police to file a civil case. She said she was seeking up to Dh3 million (US$817,000) in compensation. "It will never be the same," she said. "I will not get all the feeling back in my lips. I think he should be held responsible for this." amustafa@thenational.ae munderwood@thenational.ae