U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Texas
(713) 567-9000
December 12, 2014

Spa Owner Heads to Prison for Illegal Injections

MCALLEN, TX—Elva Navarro, 38, of Hidalgo, has received her federal sentence violating the U.S. Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act by using an adulterated device, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Navarro entered a plea of guilty just moments before her trial was set to begin on June 9, 2014.

Today, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez, who accepted the guilty plea, handed Navarro a sentence of three years in federal prison to be immediately followed by one year of supervised release. At the hearing, the court took into consideration additional conduct that enhanced Navarro’s sentence—that there were at least 30 different women who had received these injections and that Navarro advised these women she was trained and qualified when she was not. The court also considered that Navarro was on notice of the dangerousness of these injection after one of her clients had gotten sick and was hospitalized in November 2012. This occurred just 11 months prior to injecting a woman who ultimately died in October 2013. In handing down the sentence, Judge Alvarez noted Navarro had a callous disregard for the welfare of these individuals and as a result of her conduct, a woman is dead.

The investigation into Navarro began in November 2013 after law enforcement discovered she was involved with providing liquid silicone to women to effect the structure and function of their bodies.

Court documents demonstrated that Navarro would administer injections of liquid silicone into individuals who would frequent her facility—Bella Face and Body Spa in McAllen. These injections were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Navarro falsely represented to her customers that they were safe when, in fact, they were not.

At the time of her plea, Navarro admitted that on Oct. 5, 2013, she used an adulterated device, namely, liquid silicone on a female customer at her spa. Navarro knew that the substance had caused complications on previous occasions, but admitted she intended to mislead the woman by not disclosing that information to her female customer.

The woman later died as a result of the injections.

Navarro will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The case was investigated by FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations, Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Leo is prosecuting.

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