Crime and Courts

Man who posed as Del Mar plastic surgeon gets 5 days instead of 5 years, and probation

Dario Moscoso, 70, who was charged in 2019 with consulting female patients, sometimes saw his patients in the nude and touched their bodies, according to prosecutors

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A man who pleaded guilty to posing as a plastic surgeon at a Del Mar cosmetic surgery center he owned was sentenced Wednesday to two years of probation and credit for time served.

Dario Moscoso, 70, was charged in 2019 with consulting female patients at the now-shuttered Del Mar Cosmetic Contouring Surgery Center regarding procedures such as "Brazilian butt lifts" and breast augmentations, despite not being licensed to practice medicine.

While he was initially charged with sexual battery counts regarding three of the four women listed as victims in a criminal complaint, those charges were dismissed at a change of plea hearing last month. He could have faced as much as five years in prison in the case. Instead, he got five days — time served.

Moscoso pleaded guilty to felony counts of treating the sick/afflicted without a certificate and use of terms and letters falsely indicating right to practice medicine, as well as a misdemeanor battery count.

Earlier this year, a plastic surgeon at the clinic, Gerald Schneider, surrendered his medical license following allegations that included allowing Moscoso to see patients. According to the Medical Board of California's allegations against Schneider, Moscoso's consultations with patients sometimes included seeing them nude and touching their bodies.

At his sentencing hearing, San Diego Superior Court Judge Polly Shamoon said that when she took Moscoso's guilty pleas and agreed to a time-served sentence, "I thought he took responsibility for his actions."

However, the judge said that in a subsequent probation report, Moscoso denied doing anything wrong and described the allegations as a "he said, she said situation despite the fact that there are four separate victims that say the exact same thing."

Shamoon said the victims did not know one another and "had no reason or motive to make this up."

“He has the audacity to call the women in this case liars," Shamoon said. "He has the audacity to call the victims in this case liars…. I think the report of his prior convictions speaks for themselves.”

According to the judge, Moscoso had a record dating back to 1990 that included theft, tax evasion, domestic violence and stalking convictions.

After the hearing, Moscoso maintained his innocence, but said he had "lost everything" in the years since the allegations surfaced and was forced to plead guilty.

Moscoso said he never claimed to be a doctor and only spoke with patients about financial matters, rather than consulting them clinically.

"I never touched a patient," he told reporters after the hearing.

Jessica Pride, an attorney who represented the four women in a civil lawsuit against Moscoso, said she was disappointed because she didn't believe Moscoso had taken responsibility.

"Even here, after getting a gift of time served and probation, he still wants to blame the victims and not take accountability," Pride said.

The attorney said she believed Moscoso "gamed the system" by dragging the case out for several years and benefited from pandemic-related court delays.

"My clients wanted to move on," Pride said. "They wanted peace. They wanted to be able to heal and as long this criminal case was happening, it was being hung over their head."

Pride said her clients' lawsuit against Moscoso was dismissed because he no longer has the financial means to pay the victims. However, she said the suits were dismissed without prejudice, meaning they could be revived in the future.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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