Kimberly Smedley of Atlanta pleaded guilty to charges that could land her in jail for five years today after being accused of illegally injecting women's buttocks with commercial-grade silicone.
Smedley, 45, administered the injections in hotel rooms in various cities, including Baltimore, New York and Washington, D.C., and women paid between $500 and $1,600 cash for the illegal butt boosters, according to ABC News' affiliate WJLA in Arlington, Va. The liquid was reportedly made of silicone often found in paint or furniture polish.
Smedley is not a doctor and the materials she used for the injections were not FDA approved.
She pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to conspiring to introduce and deliver into interstate commerce an adulterated and misbranded device, and faces a maximum of five years in jail and a $250,000 fine.
According to court documents, a Baltimore exotic dancer was hospitalized in October when she experienced shortness of breath after receiving the injections from Smedley. Doctors found fluid in the patient's lungs and treated her for pneumonia.
Police arrested Smedley in a Washington D.C., hotel, where the cops reportedly found three 18-gauge medical needles in her possession.
"Kimberly Smedley endangered her customers' lives by injecting them with commercial silicone, causing at least one victim to suffer lung damage from a substance not approved by the Food and Drug Administration," U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein in a statement, WJLA reported. "No one should undergo medical procedures in a hotel room."
Smedley's story is among the many butt-boost horror stories to hit the headlines.
In November, Florida police arrested 30-year-old Oneal Ron Morris after she allegedly injected at least one person's buttocks with a combination of cement, glue and tire sealant.
In February 2011, British tourist Claudia Aderotimi died after receiving a cosmetic buttocks injection at a Hampton Inn in Southwest Philadelphia.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, legal buttocks procedures were up more than 140 percent from 2000 to 2010.
"This is tragic because the fault basically lies on both ends," Dr. George Lefkovits, a Manhattan-based plastic surgeon who performs buttocks augmentation in his practice, told ABCNews.com in November. "Obviously, it lies on these unscrupulous quacks who have absolutely no morals at all to inject lethal poisons in people's bodies, but the fault also lies with these victims, who are looking for bargains and not doing proper research."
While he has clients of all ethnicities and backgrounds, Lefkovits said there seems to be a strong cultural component to the butt lift.
"To a certain extent, it's cultural," said Lefkovits. "The two most common ethnic groups I see are African Americans and Latinos. Some people are so desperate for a bigger butt, they don't even want to go outside. They feel ashamed because their culture seems to demand it."
Lefkovits said pop culture icons like Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj have made big butts an even more desirable and appreciated asset.
Fat fillers are the typical procedure for buttocks augmentations, not silicone injections.
"When silicone is being injected as a filler, it's always been a problem," Dr. Malcolm Roth, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, said in November. "It probably isn't sterile and there are a lot of potential infections and skin gangrene. If it travels through the blood stream, it can and will go to other organs."
The medical-grade liquid version of the silicone is only approved for detached retinas, according to the FDA.
"Silicone is a gel that's injected but composed of small particles," said Roth. "It can get absorbed by white blood cells and get taken up into the blood stream and travel through the blood vessels and into the lymph nodes and other organs.
"So, really," he added, "not only is it not good because it's not being done by a certified plastic surgeon, it's because it's being done at all."