Awand to testify before grand jury

Howard Awand, the imprisoned medical consultant at the heart of a multimillion-dollar legal fraud conspiracy, has been called to testify before a federal grand jury.

His Los Angeles defense attorney, Harland Braun, said Friday that he views the subpoena as a sign federal prosecutors are pressing ahead with an investigation of lawyers and physicians linked to the scheme in the aftermath of Awand’s sentencing in June.

Federal authorities are transporting Awand, 66, back to Las Vegas from a federal corrections facility in Oklahoma City. He has been ordered to testify before the grand jury on Wednesday.

Prosecutors believe Awand was the central figure in a network of lawyers and physicians that may have defrauded clients out of millions of dollars. Doctors within the group were alleged to have been shielded from malpractice lawsuits, and members shared kickbacks from legal settlements.

Braun said he doesn’t know what information prosecutors want from Awand, but he insisted his client has nothing to offer.

“They’ve always believed that there was some gigantic conspiracy, but that’s not true,” Braun said. “There’s nothing he can provide them because there’s nothing there.”

Braun described the government’s persistence in the investigation as bordering on “obsessive-compulsive” behavior.

“I think the U.S. attorneys in this case can’t believe that after all of this work and all of the press, they came up with zilch,” he said.

The investigation has been ongoing for several years, but so far only one doctor, Mark Kabins, and one lawyer, Noel Gage, have been convicted with Awand, the only defendant to be sentenced to prison.

All three men pleaded guilty to felony charges stemming from irregularities prosecutors uncovered in the handling of the medical malpractice case of Melodie Simon, who was paralyzed after spinal surgery in 2000. Two surgeons, John Thalgott and Benjamin Venger, were given immunity in exchange for their testimony.

Prosecutors alleged that Awand was the middleman in a conspiracy to protect Thalgott and Kabins, who operated on Simon. Gage, who represented Simon, sued anesthesiologist Daniel Burkhead instead of the surgeons.

Gage ended up settling the case for $2.3 million, but prosecutors argued Simon was entitled to more compensation for her injuries.

In June, Awand was sentenced to serve four months in prison concurrently with a four-year term from a separate conviction for failing to pay $2.5 million in income taxes.

Natalie Collins, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office, declined comment Friday on Awand’s grand jury subpoena.

But at the time of Awand’s sentencing, prosecutors said the lawyer-doctor investigation was important to the community.

“One of our goals in bringing this prosecution was to shed light on the practice that existed between the doctors and lawyers in violating the trust of their patients and clients,” First Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre said. “I think we were successful in doing that. It is a federal offense when someone violates their fiduciary duties and the trust of their clients in order to personally profit, and we will continue to prosecute those cases.”

Federal Bureau of Prison records show that Awand is currently at the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City, a holdover facility for inmates in transit. Last month, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied his request for bail while he appeals his convictions. His release date from federal custody is listed as Feb. 19, 2014.

In court documents this week federal prosecutors tipped their hand about their plans to bring Awand back to Las Vegas. Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Wenthe filed a motion seeking court authorization to take Awand’s deposition as part of proceedings to ensure that he starts paying $2.5 million in restitution.

“He will be transported to the Lloyd George Federal Courthouse on Sept. 22, pursuant to subpoena, for an appearance during the afternoon in a separate matter,” Wenthe wrote.

The prosecutor did not provide details of that matter, but Braun said it was Awand’s grand jury appearance.

Wenthe said in his papers that he wants to take Awand’s deposition before and after “Awand’s appearance in the other matter.”

Contact Jeff German at or 702-380-8135 or read more courts coverage at

NSPCA Gets Kittens From LA
Man killed during road-rage incident
Las Vegas police are looking for two men involved in the shooting death of a man outside a 7-Eleven story at Bonanza Road and Maryland Parkway on Nov. 12, 2018. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like