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September 1, 2014

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Lawsuit seeks to block Desai bankruptcy discharge

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Sam Morris

Dr. Dipak Desai appears in court for a competency hearing Friday, Jan. 27, 2012.

The trustee appointed in the bankruptcy case against Dipak Desai, the Las Vegas physician at the center of the 2007-2008 hepatitis C scare, has filed a lawsuit asking the court to deny Desai’s bankruptcy discharge.

Desai has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to shield him from creditors. If the court denies it, Desai’s estate would not be protected.

The lawsuit is the third filed this month by William A. Leonard Jr., who was appointed as the trustee of Desai’s bankruptcy estate.

Leonard recently filed lawsuits against Desai’s family charging that Desai hid about $16.5 million from creditors in a trust set up for his daughters and a money pension fund and retirement accounts set up under his wife’s business.

In the latest lawsuit, Leonard charges that Desai has refused to testify and provide information about his financial affairs.

Leonard said that Desai, who also faces a criminal second-degree murder charge, has refused to answer questions “on grounds other than a properly invoked privilege against self-incrimination.”

Instead, the lawsuit says, Desai has been refusing to provide financial information for his bankruptcy case on grounds that he is incompetent.

However, on Feb. 2, 2012, Clark County District Judge Kathleen Delaney determined Desai was competent, the lawsuit says.

The trustee’s lawsuit also charges that Desai and his wife, Dr. Kusum Desai, withheld information about a money purchase plan for Kusum Desai’s business, his expected tax return receipt and his business transactions as the sole manager of AAA Om Financial LLC.

Desai and two of his nurses face criminal charges that stemmed from unhygienic medical practices.

Investigators have said that, as a cost-saving measure, they reused equipment, including syringes, resulting in the transmission of hepatitis C to at least seven patients and the death of one patient.

Thousands of people were notified about the potential of being exposed to the virus through Desai’s former clinic, the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada and its five sister clinics.

In August, Dipak Desai and two of his former nurses, Keith Mathahs and

Ronald Lakeman, pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder in connection with the death of Rodolfo Meana, a patient who contracted hepatitis C at

Desai’s clinic.

Meana, 77, died in April due to complications believed to stem from the infection. Judge Stefany Miley has scheduled a status check hearing on that case for Sept. 19.

Dipak Desai and the two nurses, meanwhile, are scheduled to stand trial Oct. 22 on 28 felony charges, which include neglect of patients, insurance fraud and racketeering.

Following a nine-day settlement conference, 41 civil lawsuits filed as the result of the hepatitis C scare were settled in February. The settlements were announced by Clark County Chief Judge Jennifer P. Togliatti, who didn’t disclose the terms.

The total amounts, however, were thought to cost the endoscopy clinics in the Las Vegas area and two drug companies hundreds of millions of dollars.

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