Feds Drop Case Against Vegas Medical Consultant

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Prosecutors have dismissed their case against a
medical consultant they once labeled as the ringleader of a far-reaching investigation into fraud in Las Vegas' medical community.

The move came Friday after U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush said he was inclined to toss charges against Howard Awand, a self-proclaimed medical consultant. The development leaves the fate of the entire case in doubt.

The government temporarily agreed to withdraw the charges. But
prosecutors are appealing the case of Awand and co-defendant Noel
Gage, whose case Quackenbush dismissed earlier in the year.

The federal government contends Awand and Gage, a personal injury attorney, conspired with doctors to cheat injured clients out of settlements and enrich themselves. The two were the only individuals to be indicted last year, but many more attorneys and doctors were under investigation.

Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-09-20-08 1100EDT

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