Payson man who posed as doctor gets 3 months in jail, probation
The man initially faced 17 charges, including six counts of aggravated assault, third-degree felonies; and money laundering, communications fraud and surreptitious administration of a poisonous substance, second-degree felonies.
The daughter of a man who was treated by an unlicensed physician practicing medicine in his basement said she brought her father to the U.S. for a better life and for better health care.
Instead, she said, her father suffered at the hands of Edgar Flores Bobadilla. Her father is now blind and can't walk. He is not the person he was, "and how do you think, as a daughter, that made me feel?" the woman said.
Flores cared only about money, she continued. "He has ruined our lives."
The woman's comments came Wednesday during a sentencing hearing for Flores, 66, of Payson. Police say he offered medical services to people living in the country without legal permission for years, even though he was not a licensed physician.
Fourth District Judge Thomas Low sentenced Flores to three terms of zero to five years in prison and one term of one to 15 years, but he suspended the prison time and ordered Flores to serve 90 days in jail with credit for eight days already served. Following his release, Flores will serve 36 months of probation.
Flores was also ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution, which Flores' attorney noted he has already begun paying.
Flores initially faced 17 charges, including six counts of aggravated assault, third-degree felonies; and money laundering, communications fraud and surreptitious administration of a poisonous substance, second-degree felonies. He pleaded no contest to four of the charges as part of a plea deal: engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity, a second-degree felony, and three counts of practicing unlawful or unprofessional conduct, third-degree felonies. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed the remaining 13 charges.
The investigation began in May 2021 when Payson police learned that Flores was practicing medicine out of his home and that he "only took patients on a referral basis, and only accepted patients who were immigrants lacking permanent legal status. Due to the malpractice, one patient had been permanently disfigured, according to charging documents.
Investigators say Flores is not licensed to practice medicine or prescribe prescription medication in Utah.
In September 2021, the Utah Attorney General's Office launched an undercover operation and was able to get Flores to see one of their agents.
Flores told the agent that he needed to pay $6,000 for multiple IV and injection treatments and also told him to keep it all confidential, according to charging documents. He also told the agent there was no need to go to a pharmacy because he had all the prescriptions in his house.
"Flores then prepared a syringe with an unknown substance to inject before the appointment was terminated," the charges state.
Search warrants served on Flores' trash and residence found medical supplies, an IV tower, blood transfusion equipment, scattered needles and multiple medication bottles containing liquid forms of Novocaine, cocarboxylase, dimethyl sulfoxide, naloxone and dexamethasone. Police said the bottles all had labels written in Spanish and appeared to have been shipped from Mexico.
A fraudulent Social Security card, driver's license and Mexican consulate card were also found in his house, according to investigators.
Defense attorney Michael Petro emphasized Wednesday that one of the victims was already suffering from diabetes-related complications when he sought help from Flores, and it was those complications — not Flores' treatments — that caused his injuries.
"There is absolutely no proof whatsoever that anything he did harmed (the victim)," Petro said, adding that when the prosecution asked victims to come forward, hardly anyone wanted to pursue the issue. The victims in this case "frankly just don't exist," he said.
But prosecutor Kaytlin Beckett said three victims have stayed involved in the case, and just because one of those people suffers from diabetes does not alleviate Flores' responsibility for his actions.
She asked that Flores serve a full year in jail, for both punitive and rehabilitative purposes.
Speaking through an interpreter, Flores said only that he's learned his lesson to not practice medicine in the U.S.