A woman who posed as a doctor and performed illegal abortions on nine women at her Chula Vista clinic was sentenced today to six years and eight months in prison.
Bertha Bugarin, 49, pleaded guilty Dec. 3 in San Diego to nine counts of practicing medicine without a license and one count of grand theft.
Deputy District Attorney Gina Darvas said Bugarin was "grossly incompetent to perform" abortions and harmed the women.
But defense attorney Kay Sunday said that while the women suffered emotional trauma, doctors disagreed on whether they were physically injured.
Bugarin was a businesswoman who didn't run the clinics out of greed, Sunday said.
"She's a go-getter, go get things done kind of woman," the attorney said.
Sunday said Bugarin has "clearly recognized that what she did was wrong."
One of Bugarin's patients suffered severe complications and had to be hospitalized three times. The woman eventually gave birth prematurely, and the baby died three hours later.
Another patient paid $500 for an abortion, but had to return for a second procedure because the first one was unsuccessful, authorities said.
Bugarin also operated five abortion clinics in Los Angeles and Santa Ana, and was sentenced Jan. 30 in Los Angeles for committing the same crimes and received three years and four months behind bars.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Charles Gill ordered the sentences to run at the same time.