A Cobb County judge has sentenced three people, including one doctor who was barred from practicing medicine and another whose license was suspended following allegations of abuse, convicted of running an illegal cosmetic surgery clinic.
Nathaniel Johnson III, Dr. Peter Ulbrich and Shannon Williams were all sentenced Wednesday by Cobb Superior Court Judge Grant Brantley.
The trio were found guilty in late October by a trial jury on charges of racketeering, practicing medicine without a license and theft by deception, the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office said, for their roles at the Hello Beautiful clinic in Vinings.
Johnson, a former doctor barred from practicing medicine after being convicted in 2014 of Medicaid fraud, practicing without a license and conspiracy to defraud the state, received a total of 30 years.
Johnson will serve 15 years in custody and the rest of that time on probation. He is also barred from practicing medicine and having contact with any person listed as a victim in the indictment. The judge also ordered him to pay $89,454 in restitution.
Dr. Ulbrich received 25 years, five of which he has to serve behind bars and the rest on probation. He’s also forbidden from having contact with the victims in the case and practicing medicine, and has to pay $82,904 in restitution.
Dr. Ulbrich’s license has been suspended twice before in the state of Georgia. One of the doctors named in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s award-winning Doctors & Sex Abuse series, he had his license suspended indefinitely in 2017 by the Georgia Composite Medical Board after it was determined he failed a polygraph test when asked about “sexual encounters” with current and former patients. He received treatment for sexual misconduct and admitted sexual contact with four patients, according to board records.
His license was also suspended in 2010 after the medical board found he engaged in sexual misconduct and exploitation of patients from about 2000 to 2010. He was allowed to return to practice in 2011 on probation, which was lifted in 2015.
The final defendant, Shannon Williams, who served as the secretary at the clinic, was sentenced as a first-time offender to 15 years on probation. While on probation, she is not to have contact with the victims and has to pay $5,000 in restitution.
The Cobb County District Attorney’s Office said if she completes her probation successfully and stays out of trouble, she won’t have a conviction on her record.
Cobb prosecutors say Johnson, who was banned from practicing medicine at the time, set up Hello Beautiful after he was released from jail in 2015. Ulbrich, a licensed doctor at the time, was “brought on to lend legitimacy to the clinic,” the DA’s office previously said.
The DA’s office said more than 30 patients testified at the trial, which began Oct. 7. Jurors were told that Johnson provided care to patients in 2015 or 2016, and “they were unaware he had lost his license, and that they would not have paid him if they knew he was not licensed to practice medicine.”
Prosecutors said Johnson performed procedures like fat transfers, liposuction and Brazilian butt lifts. Patients undergoing these operations paid thousands of dollars.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Jason Marbutt said one patient tried to report Johnson’s actions to the medical board in 2016 when she had a dispute with him about her surgery, and “the way he spoke with her seemed unprofessional.”
She contacted the medical board only to learn that he didn’t have a license. She was referred to the Cobb County Police Department, which began an investigation.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Jason Marbutt said many of the victims suffered “disfiguring surgeries or unhappy results,” but several were satisfied with Johnson’s work.
The patients said they first met Ulbrich in the surgery room, after only dealing with Johnson during consultations “where they disrobed and allowed Johnson to evaluate their bodies,” prosecutors said. Others testified the men performed surgeries together.
“The common thread was that patients believed Johnson was a doctor,” the DA’s office said in October following the trio’s conviction. “Patients also testified that Williams – who had worked for Johnson for several years and knew he was not licensed – introduced and continually referred to him as ‘Dr. Johnson,’ furthering the deception that he was a doctor.”
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