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Pair arrested for illegal, disfiguring surgeries

/ Source: The Associated Press

A couple were arrested after authorities said they performed illegal and disfiguring cosmetic surgeries in their filthy home, filled with drugs and syringes.

Ha Nguyen, 48, and Zbigniew Makowski, 62, were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of practicing medicine without a license and child endangerment. Four children were removed from their home by child-welfare officials, authorities said.

One woman who received a facelift and tummy tuck from Nguyen now has thick three-inch scars next to each ear, scars above each eyebrow and under her lower lip, and a 15-inch scar across her stomach, said California Medical Board spokeswoman Candis Cohen.

Authorities were alerted to the couple’s activities by a former client of Nguyen’s, according to a search warrant affidavit. The client said Nguyen was performing cosmetic surgery in her home and earning at least $500 a day, while also receiving welfare, the affidavit said.

Makowski is suspected of being Nguyen’s accomplice. Authorities said he transported patients to the house and helped clean wounds.

Nguyen has never been licensed in California as a physician, according to the medical board. In 2003, the board investigated her for performing a botched genital surgery, but the woman who made the complaint moved away and the case was not pursued, according to the affidavit.

Nguyen and Makowski were to be arraigned Friday; it was unclear whether they had retained lawyers. Both were in jail Thursday — Nguyen in lieu of $150,000 bail, Makowski in lieu of $50,000 bail, according to a jail spokesman.