A Polk County woman is facing felony charges, accused of practicing medicine without a license.
On Tuesday, Polk County undercover detectives arrested 39-year-old Jesusadelaida “Jesse” Lopez of Winter Haven on six counts of unlicensed practice of health care.
Detectives say Lopez works at the “Drop It Like It’s Hot” weight loss clinic on Cypress Gardens Boulevard in Winter Haven with a licensed medical doctor.
Dr. S. Kamal Ashraf, M.D., who works at the clinic, has also been arrested. He is facing a felony charge of knowingly employing unlicensed persons in the practice of nursing.
An arrest affidavit says Lopez has been performing medical procedures herself and portraying herself as a registered nurse, even though she does not hold any medical degrees. Deputies say the only license Lopez has in Florida is a pharmacy technician license that expired in 2014.
According to the arrest report from the sheriff’s office, one of the procedures Lopez performed was vampire facelifts, where blood is drawn from the arm and plasma from the blood is then injected into the face. Deputies say she also operated laser machines and cavitation machines, and was waiting on 100 patients to volunteer as “dummies” so she could be certified to do PRP joint injections – a stem-cell injection used for numbing.
The sheriff’s office launched its investigation earlier this year after being contacted by an investigator with the Department of Health and an investigator with the DEA.
Deputies say the DEA got involved due to allegations that Lopez was unlawfully transporting controlled substances from the clinic to her home every night. When the DEA performed an audit at the clinic, authorities say they found it was violating the requirements dealing with proper storage of controlled substances. The agency then suspended the clinic’s dispensing of Phentermine, which is prescribed for weight loss.
The DEA also learned during its investigation that Lopez appeared to be performing medical procedures and advertising medical marijuana at the clinic.
That’s when the Department of Health and Polk County Sheriff’s Office got involved. During their investigation, detectives found out Lopez was also operating a business called “Dr. Compassionate 420” that advertised medical marijuana consultations.
When investigators asked about the medical marijuana, Lopez told them they were in the process of creating a dispensary and were working on meeting requirements.
According to the sheriff’s office, Lopez ran at least three Facebook pages advertising her as the owner of both “Dr. Drop It Like It’s Hot” and “Dr. Compassionate 420.” Deputies say they found several posts and videos on the pages of Lopez performing different procedures. They also found pictures of framed certificates that read, “Jesse Lopez, R.N.”