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Dario Moscoso, 70, pleaded guilty to posing as a plastic surgeon at his Del Mar center. Photo via YouTube
Dario Moscoso, 70, pleaded guilty to posing as a plastic surgeon at his Del Mar center. Photo via YouTube
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Phony Del Mar plastic surgeon gets probation for posing as doctor

DEL MAR — A man who pleaded guilty to posing as a plastic surgeon at a Del Mar cosmetic surgery center he owned was sentenced Wednesday to two years of probation and credit for time served.

Dario Moscoso, 70, was charged in 2019 with consulting female patients at the now-shuttered Del Mar Cosmetic Contouring Surgery Center regarding procedures such as “Brazilian butt lifts” and breast augmentations, despite not being licensed to practice medicine.

While he was initially charged with sexual battery counts regarding three of the four women listed as victims in a criminal complaint, those charges were dismissed at a change of plea hearing last month.

Moscoso pleaded guilty to felony counts of treating the sick/afflicted without a certificate and use of terms and letters falsely indicating the right to practice medicine, as well as a misdemeanor battery count.

Earlier this year, a plastic surgeon at the clinic, Gerald Schneider, surrendered his medical license following allegations that included allowing Moscoso to see patients. According to the Medical Board of California’s allegations against Schneider, Moscoso’s consultations with patients sometimes included seeing them nude and touching their bodies.

At his sentencing hearing, San Diego Superior Court Judge Polly Shamoon said that when she took Moscoso’s guilty pleas and agreed to a time-served sentence, “I thought he took responsibility for his actions.”

However, the judge said that in a subsequent probation report, Moscoso denied doing anything wrong and described the allegations as a “he said, she said situation despite the fact that there are four separate victims who say the exact same thing.”

Shamoon said the victims did not know one another and “had no reason or motive to make this up.”

After the hearing, Moscoso maintained his innocence but said he had “lost everything” in the years since the allegations surfaced and was forced to plead guilty.

Moscoso said he never claimed to be a doctor and only spoke with patients about financial matters, rather than consulting them clinically.

“I never touched a patient,” he told reporters after the hearing.

Jessica Pride, an attorney who represented the four women in a civil lawsuit against Moscoso, said she was disappointed because she didn’t believe Moscoso had taken responsibility.

“Even here, after getting a gift of time served and probation, he still wants to blame the victims and not take accountability,” Pride said.

The attorney said she believed Moscoso “gamed the system” by dragging the case out for several years and benefited from pandemic-related court delays.

“My clients wanted to move on,” Pride said. “They wanted peace. They wanted to be able to heal and as long this criminal case was happening, it was being hung over their head.”

Pride said her clients’ lawsuit against Moscoso was dismissed because he no longer has the financial means to pay the victims. However, she said the suits were dismissed without prejudice, meaning they could be revived in the future.

Check out The Coast News’ Weekly Crime Reports and Daily Arrest Logs for up-to-the-minute arrest reports in North County. Read more local crime news here. For more information about arrests, cold cases and active alerts, please visit the San Diego County Sheriff’s website.

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