Botox Bandits on the Rise

You may have heard of the “dine and dash” or “gas and go” but “Botox and bail”? According to it’s becoming more common for patients to get Botox, dermal fillers, and other beauty procedures and then leave without paying.

One recent case involved a woman, dubbed the “Beauty Bandit,” who received over $3,000 worth of Botox and fillers at a cosmetic dermatology center in Fort Lauderdale and then disappeared after telling staff she had run out to get cash from an ATM. The suspect was arrested recently, but she is just one of many recent “cosmetic criminals” who have made headlines.

“From talking to our doctors, this is a problem that’s occurring from coast to coast,” says Jeff Karzen, spokesman for the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. Botox bandits have also been reported in Newport Beach, Calif.; Port St. Lucie, Fla.; Tampa, Fla.; Brisbane, Australia and Kenton, England.

Some surgeons point to the bad economy and the perceived “necessity” of cosmetic procedures as the catalyst behind these crimes, according to

Dr. Jon Grazer, a Newport Beach plastic surgeon who was hit by a Botox bandit last year, says that many feel Botox is no longer a luxury. “It’s something people have to have, and if they can’t afford it because of the economy, I think it’s going to push them to get it by whatever means they can.”

It’s happened three times at Dr. Samir Pancholi’s cosmetic surgery practice in Las Vegas. “The first time, it was a woman in her 50s who came in and got treatment, then said, ‘My purse is in the car, I’ll go grab it and be right back.’ Then she was gone.”

What are doctors doing in response to these “Botox and bail” scams?  Some affected by criminals have changed their payment rules, such as requiring all new patients to pay upfront.