British Columbia

Vancouver woman gets jail time for performing illegal Botox injections in defiance of court order

A Vancouver woman who defied a court order to stop performing unlicensed Botox injections has been sentenced to six months in jail.

Maria Ezzati sentenced to 6 months and $15K fine for contempt of court

Maria Ezzati is shown in a photograph from her website, in a screenshot taken in 2018. The website has since been taken down. (www.staybeautiful.info)

A Vancouver woman who defied a court order to stop performing unlicensed Botox injections has been sentenced to six months in jail.

Maria Ezzati has also been fined $15,000 for contempt of court after a hearing on Friday in B.C. Supreme Court, according to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia.

Her sentence comes after undercover investigators with the college attended a "Botox and filler party" at someone's home in February 2020, and filmed Ezzati injecting three people.

"The college is confident that the public interest is being served with the sentencing of Ms. Ezzati," college registrar Dr. Heidi Oetter said in a news release.

"Any patient receiving an injection of a prescription drug from an unlicensed practitioner is at risk. There is no assurance that the practitioner is competent or qualified to provide treatment, or that the instruments and products being used were provided by a licensed manufacturer."

Ezzati must also pay an earlier $5,000 fine, as well as special costs. The college says some of her fine money will be used to reimburse people who received illegal injections.

The college says its run-ins with Ezzati date back to 2017, when officials received a tip that someone was doing cosmetic injections without a licence out of an office in downtown Vancouver.

A court order allowed college inspectors to search Ezzati's office and seize evidence, while preventing her from calling herself a doctor or performing any procedures that are meant to be done by doctors.

Despite the order against her, the college says Ezzati's social media accounts suggested she was still performing injections.

The college mounted an investigation, alleging Ezzati had performed 44 Botox procedures on 38 people over a four-month period, bringing in $22,000.

A before and after image taken from Maria Ezzati's website in a screenshot from 2018. The website has since been taken down. (www.staybeautiful.info)

In 2018, Ezzati was found in contempt of court for referring to herself as "doctor" and advertising medical procedures, but the college wasn't able to prove she was performing injections herself.

But after investigators filmed her last year doing multiple injections and obtained affidavits from people who'd received injections from her up until May 2020, Ezzati admitted she was in contempt again.

In B.C., only doctors, dentists, some naturopaths and nurses working under a doctor's supervision can perform cosmetic injections.

Ezzati received a bachelor's degree from the University of Victoria and a bachelor of medicine from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in November 2016. She is qualified as a physician in Ireland and has claimed she was taking steps to qualify in B.C., after returning to Vancouver in 2017.

She has said in the past that she was under the impression she was qualified to practise or provide cosmetic services in B.C.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay is a journalist for CBC News in Vancouver with a focus on the courts, health, science and social justice issues. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.

With files from Jason Proctor

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