Maria Chrysson, 29, the alleged “Beauty Bandit,” may surrender herself to law enforcement in Fort Lauderdale, Florida soon. It is unknown whether or not a bond amount has been agreed to with prosecutors at this time. For those who are unaware, Chrysson was recently arrested for allegedly failing to pay doctors after receiving Botox treatments.
Originally dubbed the “Botox Bandit,” news media now calls her the “Beauty Bandit.” I liked the first name better.
In any event, a For Lauderdale dermatologist claims that a woman received over $3,000 in Botox treatments from his office, but skipped out on the tab when it came time to pay. According to the doctor’s staff, the patient allegedly stated she was going to an ATM to retrieve cash, but never returned.
The doctor claims that Chrysson is that woman and that she is caught on video surveillance.
In a surprising twist of this story, Chrysson’s criminal attorney claims that they have the wrong person. As a criminal lawyer myself, I think this is a highly unusual tactic, especially at this early stage of the case.
In all likelihood, Chrysson is telling her lawyer it wasn’t her. Since she has yet to surrender herself to authorities in Fort Lauderdale, it is unlikely that her lawyer has had an opportunity to review the surveillance video or interview any eye witnesses.
When identification of the offender is an issue in a case like this one, a criminal lawyer would first need to analyze the physical descriptions given by eye witnesses and review the surveillance video taken at the clinic. Additionally, it will be important to determine whether or not investigators presented the doctor and his staff with photo line-ups of Chrysson. In the alternative, it may be the doctors and the staff the presented investigators with the photo.
Unless verified by her defense lawyer, any claim that Chrysson has been misidentified may backfire in the face of clear surveillance video and corroborating eye witness testimony.
While most criminal cases are anything but black and white, simple theft matters are usually pretty straight forward. Identification in this case should be easy for prosecutors to prove since the doctor in question would have had ample opportunity to familiar himself with Chrysson’s appearance during the two and half hours he spent injecting Botox into her face.
This case is a lot different from random crimes committed by strangers on strangers. In such cases, accurate identification can be hard, given the stress of the moment and the victim’s limited opportunity to view the attacker’s face.
If Chrysson’s defense boils down to the doctor’s claim that she is the offender and her claim that she is not, Chrysson will most likely lose.
However, if the investigation by Chrysson’s defense attorney reveals that there are inconsistencies in the eye witnesses descriptions or the video is unclear or flatly shows another person, then Chrysson’s chances may improve.
The best defense would be if the witnesses were shown photo line-ups and they failed to properly identify Chrysson.
At the end of the day, more information will be needed before any conclusions about this case can be drawn.