Surgeon in fraud case faces complaint


A Las Vegas surgeon's felony conviction has prompted the state Board of Medical Examiners to file a formal complaint against him.

Mark Kabins, one of three defendants in a federal fraud case, pleaded guilty in November to "misprision of felony." The charge involves a failure to report criminal activity.

Senior U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush sentenced Kabins last month to five years of probation. The orthopedic surgeon also received six months of home confinement but is allowed to go to work during that time.

The medical board's complaint, filed Wednesday, accuses Kabins of engaging in conduct "that brings the medical profession into disrepute," engaging in conduct that "is intended to deceive," and sustaining a conviction for an offense "involving moral turpitude."

On Friday, attorney David Chesnoff said he and Kabins' other lawyers are looking forward to assisting him.

"We believe that we'll get a fair hearing, and we're very hopeful that Dr. Kabins will be able to continue practicing medicine as he has done so diligently for all of these years," Chesnoff said.

Kabins has been licensed to practice medicine in Nevada since 1992.

According to the medical board's complaint, Kabins acknowledged facts in his federal plea agreement that indicate "he knew of mail or wire fraud committed by others against a former patient of his, and that he concealed material information about the crime, and that he did not as soon as possible make known the crime to a proper legal authority."

Kabins' conviction was the first in the 2007 fraud case involving allegations that a network of Las Vegas doctors and lawyers cheated clients out of honest services by protecting doctors from malpractice lawsuits and sharing kickbacks from legal settlements. Kabins became a defendant in the case in March, when he was charged with conspiracy and fraud.

Two fellow surgeons wrote letters to Quackenbush expressing their support for Kabins before his sentencing hearing.

Kabins' plea agreement requires him to perform 250 hours of community service and to pay $3.5 million to a former patient, Melodie Simon, who became a paraplegic after he and another surgeon operated on her in 2000.

A trial for two co-defendants, personal injury attorney Noel Gage and former medical consultant Howard Awand, is scheduled to begin Feb. 24.

According to a statement issued by U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden after Kabins entered his plea, Kabins "acknowledged that he used Awand to corruptly influence Gage not to sue him, and that he concealed the crime that Awand and Gage thereafter committed."

Gage represented Simon in her medical malpractice case. Rather than sue Kabins or John Thalgott, the other surgeon who operated on her, the lawyer sued an anesthesiologist. The case settled, and Simon received $1.3 million.

In June 2008, the state Board of Medical Examiners filed formal complaints against two surgeons, Thalgott and Benjamin Venger, who had testified in the federal fraud case under a grant of immunity.

According to the board's Web site, a settlement was reached with Venger in May. The agreement resulted in a finding that he engaged in conduct, which included "untruthful testimony in a civil matter," that brought the medical profession into disrepute.

The settlement required the board to issue a public reprimand. It also required that Venger be placed on probation for three years, complete 805 hours of "clinical and administrative service," continue to assist in the prosecution of the fraud case, and pay more than $17,000.

No resolution of Thalgott's complaint is listed on the board's Web site, and no one could be reached for comment on the status of his complaint late Friday.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at cgeer@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710.

 

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