Las Vegas clinic operator pleads guilty to embezzling $1.3 million

The administrator of two Las Vegas surgery centers pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to embezzling $1.3 million from physicians who invested in the clinics.

Robert Barnes, 50, who ran the Surgery Centers of Southern Nevada and other entities for the physicians, pleaded guilty to one felony count of embezzlement in connection with health care.

He remains free and has agreed to pay restitution to the clinics. His sentencing is Sept. 1.

According to his plea agreement, Barnes gambled away $515,000 in casino cash advances he obtained with company credit cards. He also bought a $38,000 diamond ring with company credit cards and spent another $45,000 on personal travel and entertainment.

The $1.3 million was stolen from the clinics between 2010 and 2013, the indictment alleges.

The clinics, one on West Twain Avenue and another on Burnham Avenue, began to struggle financially in 2010, the indictment states.

“Vendor payments, including rent, were long overdue and physician-investors ceased receiving distributions on their investments, despite the fact that SCSN continued to receive reimbursements from the various public and private insurance companies whose beneficiaries had procedures there,” according to the indictment.

Eventually, the clinics filed for bankruptcy, the indictment states.

Barnes has agreed to provide the government with an accurate account of his finances and forfeit a long list of women’s jewelry, including rings, watches, bracelets and earrings he admitted buying with embezzled money.

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135. Find him on Twitter: @JGermanRJ

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