Las Vegas Hepatitis C Outbreak Doctor Gets Additional 71 Months in Federal Prison

Dipak Desai — the former gastroenterologist responsible for a 2007 outbreak of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in Nevada — has been sentenced an additional 71 months in federal prison for his role in a multimillion-dollar health care fraud scheme tied to the string of infections, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports.

In 2013, a state court convicted Desai of 27 separate criminal counts related to the HCV outbreak alone, in which seven patients were infected with hep C and one patient died. At that point, after failing to prove he was mentally incompetent to stand trial, Desai was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 18 years.

Desai, 65, who ran a busy endoscopy center in Las Vegas until his suspension in 2008, has already spent nearly 30 months behind bars in connection with the case. In addition to being convicted of medical malpractice and second-degree murder — which involved double-dipping syringes into anesthetic bottles used on multiple patients — Desai was accused of inflating the length of patients' medical procedures and overbilling Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies for the procedures since at least 2005.

In April 2015, Desai pleaded guilty in federal court to one felony count each of conspiracy and health care fraud, in schemes involving as many as 60,000 patients. Along with the additional jail time, federal judges have ordered Desai to pay $2.2 million in restitution to the health insurance agencies he defrauded in the scheme, and $2.2 million to the U.S. government.


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