‘Fake doctor’ Dean Faiello feared something would ‘go wrong’


A quack doctor who ran a booming skin and laser clinic business in Manhattan where a botched procedure killed a patient says “deep down” he always feared “something was going to go wrong.”

In exclusive clips obtained by The Post of an ABC “20/20” episode set to air Friday, phony MD Dean Faiello, 63, agonizes over Maria Cruz’s horrifying death in 2003 during a jailhouse interview at Attica Correction Facility .

Faiello described the 35-year-old investment banker as “quiet and shy,” and recalled seeing her “somewhere between 10 and 15 times” at his Gramercy Park clinic.

“We spent many hours during the treatment, talking to each other,” he told ABC News senior investigative correspondent David Scott.

He also admitted he never told Cruz or any other clients that the complex laser treatments they sought were meant to be performed by a licensed medical doctor.

Faiello, who has a history of substance abuse, recalled being “drunk and high” during Cruz’s final visit on April 13, 2003.

Maria Cruz’s parents, Irenes and Rodolfo Cruz, hold a picture of their daughter at their home in Queens in February 2004.

“I used too many vials of lidocaine,” he said, remembering the moment Cruz allegedly collapsed into convulsions.

“There’s no logic to it, there is no justification,” he continued. “Deep down inside, I was afraid that something was going to go wrong.”

Cruz had sought Faiello’s treatment for a black mark on her tongue. Since 1996, Faiello built an upscale clientele at his medical spa, SkinOvations. — first practicing from a Park Avenue location, then at a spot with a coveted East 73rd Street address and finally to the the Gramercy Park neighborhood.

Faiello pictured after his arrest in Costa Rica.
Faiello pictured after his arrest in Costa Rica.
New York Post

But while Faiello promised patients results through innovative laser hair removal, blood vessel removal, electrolysis, and other treatments, he failed to mention he was practicing without medical credentials.

Faiello– who The New York Times reported was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by his high school class in 1977– never graduated from college.

The facade started to crumble in Oct. 2002, when The Post published a bombshell investigative report that led to his arrest on three counts of practicing without a medical license.

Maria Cruz is pictured
Cruz, 35, sought Faiello’s treatment for a black mark on her tongue.

He was subsequently released on bail under the condition that he cease treating patients, but covertly continued to see clients out of a West 16th Street apartment.

Almost two decades later, crime reporter Pat LaRama explained to ABC how patients were swayed by Faiello.

“He played the part, he looked the part, he acted the part,” she lamented. 

Faiello is pictured at Attica Correctional Facility.
Faiello is now incarcerated at Attica Correctional Facility.
ABC News

In Cruz’s tragic case, when Faiello realized she was dead, he reportedly transported her body in a suitcase to his Gilded Age mansion in the Forest Hill neighborhood of Newark.

He then buried her remains under the garage.

Faiello subsequently fled to Costa Rica on a three-month visa. He was arrested a few days after Cruz’s body was discovered in February 2004.

In the“20/20” interview, Faiello, who was in his 40s at the time of Cruz’s death, also describes his bizarre attempt to be adopted in order to fight extradition.

Pictured is a covert video still of Faiello lying to a would-be patient about his medical credentials.
A covert video still of Faiello lying to a would-be patient about his medical credentials.
ABC News

He was unsuccessful, and returned to the US in May 2005, where he later plead guilty to a first degree assault charge in Cruz’s death in exchange for a 20 year sentence.

Airing at 9 p.m. EST, the two-hour special features interviews with investigative journalists Jeane MacIntosh, who published The Post’s initial report, and Barbara Nevins Taylor, as well as Faiello’s former romantic partner Greg Bach. Investigator Brian Ford and former friends of colleagues of both Faiello and Cruz also make appearances.

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