- The Handbasket
- I talked to the Dr. who allegedly did George Santos’ Botox and had his license suspended for a penile enhancement gone wrong
I talked to the Dr. who allegedly did George Santos’ Botox and had his license suspended for a penile enhancement gone wrong
“Whether they’re running for Congress or running for Senate, we provide the service they’re looking for."
The House Ethics Committee dropped its hotly-anticipated report on Rep. George Santos Thursday morning, and it did not contain a single glimmer of hope for Long Island’s finest export. Along with confirming that he absolutely broke the law in several ways, it also included quintessential Georgian details about how exactly he broke the law. (And in a classic George move, just after the report dropped he tried to distract us by announcing he wouldn’t run for reelection in 2024.)
When I took the reporting a step further, however, it led me to new, even more deranged details concerning a suspended medical license for a penis enhancement, several lawsuits against Yelp reviewers, and a guilty plea for defrauding the Amtrak health system.
“Several other expenditures related to spa services and/or cosmetic procedures could not be verified as having a campaign nexus,” the report states. “For example, during the 2020 campaign, a $1,500 purchase on the campaign debit card was made at Mirza Aesthetics; this expense was not reported to the FEC and was noted as ‘Botox’ in expense spreadsheets produced to the ISC by Ms. Marks.”
The fact that George used campaign funds for Botox is already galling, but things took an even more bizarre turn when I dug into the story of the doctor who allegedly administered it.
Mirza Aesthetics is owned and operated by Dr. Muhammad Mirza, who according to ZocDoc is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, received his medical degree from Jinnah Sindh Medical University in Pakistan, and did his residency at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn. According to his LinkedIn, Mirza has worked as the Medical Director of Allied Medical and Diagnostic Services for the past 20 years, which offers mobile services for “strictly confidential, comprehensive cardiovascular and pulmonary evaluations at your location.”
Mirza’s bio shows no reference to dermatology or aesthetic certification of any kind, but he’s absolutely been performing these procedures. Back in 2019, he sued four Yelp reviewers who claimed to have received his Botox services and gave him a one star review. Reviewers accused him of “pre-loading Botox into the syringes so he can dilute it, of injecting people in shady locations, of pushing more product on patients and of generally being a scam artist.”
Similar to his cardiovascular business, patients said his Botox business was primarily mobile. He “works out of gym bags in some back end storage room that was sketchy and dirty. Felt like we were filming a porno,” one reviewer wrote. VICE even did a video about him as part of their “One Star Reviews” series.
Perhaps more disturbing is the 2021 suspension of his medical license in New Jersey for non-surgical penile and breast enhancement procedures using drugs in an off-label capacity. One such penile enhancement procedure led to a patient’s hospitalization and two surgeries.
"When consulted by an emergency room physician regarding his treatment of the patient, Mirza allegedly failed to accurately disclose the exact filler he injected into the patient's penis, further complicating the patient's post-procedure emergency care," according to a release from the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs, which initiated an investigation after receiving numerous complaints.
A complaint from the New Jersey Attorney General’s office specifies that Mirza “does not have any formal residency or fellowship medical training in either cosmetic plastic surgery, dermatology, urology and/or gynecology, nor is he board-certified in any of these medical specialties.” (The complaint also states Mirza was trained in penile enhancement by Dr. Carlos Mercado, creator of the “erectus shot,” a natural alternative to erectile dysfunction medication.)
And to top it all off, in April of this year Mirza pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud in New Jersey for engaging “in a scheme to bill the Amtrak health care plan for fraudulent claims for services that either were never provided or were medically unnecessary.”
This doesn’t sound like the type of white-glove service befitting a future Congressman, so I decided to give Mirza a call to see what was going on. When I reached him by phone Thursday afternoon, it was via a phone number linked on the Mirza Aesthetics Yelp page, which had the following warning.
“He may have been seen, but I’m not in a position to say yes or no,” Mirza says when I ask him if Santos was a patient. Later on in the conversation he adds, “I don’t recall the name, but certainly there are privacy concerns [with confirming].”
But he doesn’t dispute Santos’ visit. “I know I don't recall the interaction, but obviously, since the report is coming that there was a charge—there is a paper trail that there was a charge, that he paid on a debit card or credit card or whatever the case may be to my practice, and, you know, obviously he was seen.”
I try to jog his memory by mentioning Santos was in the midst of his first run for Congress at the time he came to see him for Botox, and that’s when the doctor of 32 years tries to make a sales pitch: “Whether they’re running for Congress or running for Senate, we provide the service they’re looking for. Occupational gravitation, that’s not something we take into consideration.”
Mirza Aesthetics comes up with office locations in various locations across Long Island, New York City, and Northern New Jersey, but these days Mirza said he “mostly” operates out of an office on East 60th Street in Manhattan. He tells me he used to have 30+ locations in five states and was seeing 10,000 patients annually. But Allied Medical and Diagnostic Services—which he clarifies is the parent company of Mirza Aesthetics—is headed for bankruptcy.
I ask Mirza how he went from being an internist to a Botox and penile enhancement specialist, to which he replied, “Time is a great master.”
“We as a society decide what kind of model and upbringing we’re teaching to young adults,” Mirza said, though it wasn’t clear if he was referring to Santos or just the world at large. “Laws are only good if we maintain a moral compass as human beings and as citizens of this country.”
Near the end of our brief conversation, Mirza had a sudden revelation regarding the man about whom we had been chatting. “Oh, the guy with the veteran and the dead dog.”
(Many thanks to @ NY3Resident on Twitter for the tip.)