Aide Takes Plea in Vegas Hepatitis Exposure Case

LAS VEGAS -- A former aide has pleaded guilty to five felony charges and is agreeing to testify against the former owner of a Las Vegas outpatient clinic that officials blame for a 2007 hepatitis C outbreak in southern Nevada.

Court officials and attorneys told The Associated Press that 76-year-old year-old Keith Mathahs took a plea deal in state court that could get him probation or up to 72 months in prison.

According to Mathahs attorney Michael Cristalli, the former aide pleaded guilty to several counts related to criminal neglect and insurance fraud. The murder charge against Mathahs has been dropped, Cristalli said.  

He'll testify in trial in April against Dr. Dipak Desai.

Mathahs was one of two former Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada nurse anesthetists who pleaded not guilty along with the 63-year-old Desai to 28 criminal charges including criminal neglect of patients resulting in death, insurance fraud and racketeering.

Prosecutors allege Desai's clinics used unsafe injection practices to save money.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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