Beauty Bandit

POSTED: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 - 3:32pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 - 3:33pm

Woman scams doctors out of thousands in botox and beauty treatments.

South Florida police are on the trail of a woman known in cosmetology circles as the "Beauty Bandit".

She's been going from clinic to clinic stealing Botox treatments.

The bandit has doctors so upset they're offering a reward for her capture.

The latest beauty theft happened Friday in downtown Fort Lauderdale at the chic Shino Bay Cosmetic Dermatology & Laser Institute.

According to attendants at the clinic, the woman, who gave the name of Laura Cugno-Owens, stormed in demanding Botox treatments and other procedures after lying about having an appointment.

"She wanted the works," said Dr. Shino Bay Aguilera.

The clinic obliged and fit her in, but advised the woman they could not do all of the numerous procedures she listed.

The woman also refused to take a before picture, which is standard procedure in cosmetic surgery, claiming she was a model and that would violate her contract.

"I dropped the ball on that one. It will never happen again," he said. "Now she was very attractive, but she wasn't model material."

The woman apparently also had a thing for pain.

She refused numbing agents during any of the procedures.

"She said she really loved the feeling of the needles on her skin, which I thought was odd," Aguilera said.

Once the $3,300 in injections were complete and the woman got the bill at the end of the procedures, she claimed she didn't have the cash on her and asked to run to the ATM next door.

She left her purse as collateral that she would be right back, but returned, leaving the clinic literally holding the bag, which happened to be filled with business cards from other doctors she likely ripped off.

They also found a receipt for similar cosmetic work done by Dr. Julio Gallo in Miami.

A quick call to his colleague revealed that the doctors were ripped off by the same woman.

Gallo performed pricey injections on the woman in February.

That time she gave the name of Maria Elizabeth Chrysson.

A 29-year-old woman under that name who looks similar to the woman in the surveillance video was arrested in 2006 and 2008 in Broward County for battery and resisting arrest.

The timing is no coincidence either, doctors said.

In order to maintain her Botox beauty, the bandit needs to have a touch up every five or six months, so they expect the woman will likely surface again for another round of facial work.

In all, the woman has had about $7,000 of work done for free.

"I remember watching TV and this happened to someone in Palm Beach," Aguilera said, "and I thought to myself, 'I hope this never happens to me.'"
 

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