Local Spine Surgeon Sentenced for Concealing Felony Involving Local Doctors & Lawyers
Las Vegas, Nev. – Las Vegas orthopaedic spine surgeon, Mark B. Kabins, M.D., was sentenced today by Senior U.S. District Judge Justin L. Quackenbush to five years of probation, six months of home confinement, 250 hours of community work service, and ordered to pay $3.5 million in restitution to victim Melodie Simon for his guilty plea to concealing a fraud committed by his co-defendants, local lawyer Noel Gage and medical consultant Howard Awand, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Dr. Kabins, 49, pleaded guilty on November 23, 2009, to one count of misprision of felony, which is defined under federal law as knowing that another person committed a felony and not notifying appropriate authorities about the crime as soon as possible.
In his guilty plea agreement, Dr. Kabins admitted that on August 3, 2000, in Las Vegas, he assisted another orthopedic surgeon, John Thalgott, M.D. in performing spine surgery on patient Melodie Simon. Simon became paralyzed from complications that arose after the surgery. Dr. Kabins knew that experts could say that he fell below the standard of care in his treatment of Simon, and that he could be sued. To avoid being sued, Dr. Kabins asked Howard Awand, a medical consultant who referred personal injury cases to him and to lawyers, to persuade Simon's attorney, Noel Gage, not to sue him and Dr. Thalgott. Dr. Kabins believed that Awand would corruptly attempt to persuade Gage by referring lucrative personal injury cases to Gage. After receiving referrals from Awand, Gage chose not to sue Dr. Kabins or Dr. Thalgott. Instead, he sued an anesthesiologist. Dr. Kabins believed that Gage did not sue him because Awand had referred cases to him. To help Gage sue the anesthesiologist, Dr. Kabins drafted a "Letter of Complaint" from which he intentionally omitted information about his secret dealings with Gage and information about Simon's medical condition following her surgery.
Trial in the fraud case against Gage and Awand is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, February 10, 2010.
The case is being investigated by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the Nevada Attorney General's Office, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Steven W. Myhre and Daniel R. Schiess.