(WSVN) - A patient died because of his negligence — and then he poisoned his wife. Now, a disgraced New York doctor has turned up here in South Florida trying to start a new cosmetology business. 7’s Brian Entin investigates.
Brian Entin: “Sir, can I ask you why you are calling yourself doctor again?”
Tony Haute looked surprised to see us.
Surprised that we know he’s in South Florida, and that we know about his dark past.
Sid Klein, owns a marketing business: “This person is going around still claiming to be a physician, but he’s not.”
After seeing an online ad, Sid Klein says he met with Tony Haute last month at his Oakland Park home for a job marketing Haute’s skincare line.
The Tony Haute Cosmetique website looked professional. Haute is shown in a lab coat and writes that he’s a “scientist and physician.”
He refers to his product as “DNA-based plasma protocol.” The system uses blood to create customized skincare.
Sid Klein: “I was getting all these negative feelings.”
When Sid got home and Googled Haute, that’s when he discovered his tangled past. Tony Haute used to go by the name Dr. Anthony Pignataro and he made headlines in New York.
He went to jail and lost his medical license in the late ’90s for negligent homicide after his patient went into cardiac arrest during a breast augmentation surgery.
When Haute got out, he pleaded guilty to poisoning his wife with arsenic. That sent him back to prison for another 15 years.
Sid Klein: “I was just completely taken aback.”
Brian Entin: “We dug even deeper into the disgraced doctor, and spoke to the state attorney up in Buffalo, New York, who says he is currently investigating Anthony Pignataro for the same thing he is now doing here in Oakland Park. Changing his name and calling himself a doctor on his website.”
John Flynn, Erie County District Attorney: “The fact that he put doctor on the website up here is a class A misdemeanor in New York state, and if he ever comes back here I will charge him with that.”
It’s illegal in New York, but it’s not against the law here.
Pignataro was able to change his name in Florida to Anthony Haute.
A judge signed off with no objections.
In Florida, even with no medical license, he can still call himself doctor, because he has a medical degree.
Dr. Steven Rosenberg, Florida Board of Medicine: “I wish there were more protections, so that the public is not confused by the situation.”
Steven Rosenberg: “It would be beneficial for our legislature to look at who can use the term doctor and make sure that if they are doing something that is remotely related to medicine that they be a licensed physician.”
When you scroll to the bottom of Haute’s website, he does have this note that says he is “not licensed to practice medicine in the state of Florida.”
The website was recently taken down, but his company is still listed as active with the state, and he is listed as an M.D.
John Flynn: “This man is extremely dangerous. He is a criminal and he needs to be looked out for and the public needs to know about him down there in Miami.”
Brian Entin: “Why did you put MD on your LLC paperwork sir?”
Haute wasn’t answering our questions. What’s next for his South Florida cosmetics business is unclear.
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