CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - WOIO's Chief Investigator Carl Monday caught her doing a dangerous medical procedure without a medical license. Now, Sonyia Ladson is going to prison.
Judge Michael Russo sentenced Ladson to six-and-a-half years at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville for performing illegal butt enhancement surgery and using phony prescriptions to obtain drugs.
Last year, Monday and his team sent a woman undercover into the Noble Road Family Clinic in Cleveland Heights.
Ladson, who operated the clinic but has no medical training, offered to give the woman hydrogel injections to increase the size of her rear.
The procedure is not approved by the FDA and is linked to more than a dozen deaths across the country.
In June, a Pennsylvania woman who administered the shots was convicted of murder.
In court Tuesday, Cuyahoga County Assistant Prosecutor Edward Brydle credited 19 Action News for its investigation.
"She was doing illegal butt injections, a problem identified by WOIO, Channel 19," he said.
Kiva Kirk, one of the victims interviewed by Monday last year, encouraged the judge to give Ladson prison time.
"It was Sonyia Ladson who did my injections," she told the court. "I suffered pain, I was in the hospital for a month. I'm still living with pain and scars."
Ladson denied she was playing doctor, but pleaded guilty to practicing without a medical license.
"I knew I was wrong," said Ladson. "I have been stripped through by the bad decisions I have made. And I feel sorry for the ladies, and I can't express it enough."
Ladson blamed much of her problem on serious medical issues of her own, and bad decisions in hiring doctors to front the now-closed clinic.
She also claimed she does not have a serious drug problem, a claim hotly disputed by Prosecutor Brydle.
"She has flooded the county during an opiate epidemic with painkillers. All she is doing is taking the profit," said Brydle.
A Drug Enforcement Agency investigation found that Ladson wrote phony prescriptions for more than 4,000 pills, mostly sold for profit.
The prosecutor says she used the names of 25 patients without their knowledge to obtain the pills at nearly a dozen area pharmacies.
Despite pleas from friends of Ladson, Judge Russo showed Ladson little mercy.
"This was a criminal enterprise," he said during sentencing.
Kiva Kirk's reaction to the verdict?
"You do the crime, you do the time."
Ladson began doing her time Tuesday shortly before noon. Judge Russo denied her request to delay execution of the verdict, saying, "The court is not in the business of doing favors."
Carl Monday tried to talk to Ladson as she arrived for court. She would not comment. She told the judge she'll probably appeal the sentence.