Wife of doctor who performed fatal liposuction surgery pleads guilty, gets time served

Norman Miller

A Brazilian woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to her role in assisting her husband in performing an illegal, fatal liposuction surgery in a Framingham basement last year.

Ana Maria Miranda Ribeiro, 50, pleaded guilty in Middlesex Superior Court to manslaughter and two counts of the illegal distribution of a Class A substance.

Judge Wendie Gershengorn sentenced her to one year in the House of Correction and released her on time served. She was released to the custody of the Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency because they have a detainer on her.

Ribeiro's husband, Luiz Carlos Ribeiro, 50, is also facing charges for the July 30, 2006 death of Fabiola B. DePaula. He has pleaded not guilty.

"Fabiola DePaula died all too young because this defendant recklessly placed her in unnecessary danger performing an invasive procedure without the proper equipment, medications or safeguards in the event something went wrong," said Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone in a statement. "By pleading guilty today, Ana Maria Ribeiro has finally admitted her responsibility for the victim's tragic death, and we will continue to move forward with our case against the other defendant."

The Ribeiros were arrested on July 31, the day after DePaula, 24, died at the MetroWest Medical Center's Framingham Union campus. Authorities said the Ribeiros rushed DePaula to the hospital after she stopped breathing during the surgery, performed on a massage table in the basement of 201 Bishop Drive.

The following day, Ana Celia Pena Sielemann, of 201 Bishop Drive, Framingham, was also arrested. She was also charged with several drug distribution charges. Authorities say she hosted the Ribeiros and allowed them to perform the surgeries in her basement. She also recruited patients, authorities said.

Sielemann has since been deported to Brazil, but both Ribeiros have been held in state custody.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled DePaula died from "intra-operative complications" including a pulmonary fat emboli that occurred during the liposuction surgery.

The Framingham Police and the Middlesex district attorney's office continue to monitor a hotline they have set up for those in the Brazilian community who may have had an illegal surgery and suffered complications. The tipline number is 508-872-1212, ext. 444.