Nurse arrested in Columbus, faces federal charges in outbreak

63-year-old Ronald Lakeman -- Source: Columbus Police Department
63-year-old Ronald Lakeman -- Source: Columbus Police Department

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  A man is facing multiple federal charges in connection with a Hepatitis outbreak in Nevada.

Sixty-three-year-old nurse-anesthetist Ronald Lakeman was arrested just before 10:00 p.m. Tuesday at his home on Highlands Drive, near County Line Road in Columbus.

The United States Marshals and members of the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office took him into custody without incident.

US Marshal Bob Greene tells WTVM a warrant was signed for Lakeman on June 4th, 2010 in Clark County, Nevada, stemming from a 28-count indictment charging him with racketeering and insurance fraud.

Greene says the Marshals received a lead from the United States Marshals Fugitive Investigation Strike Team in Las Vegas, Nevada asking for assistance in apprehending Lakeman.

According to members of the Criminal Intelligence Unit in Las Vegas, Lakeman worked as a CNRA at a Las Vegas medical clinic under Dr. Dipak Desai.  It is believed they passed on Hepatitis C by re-using syringes in bottles of Propofol.

The allegations surfaced in 2006 when Health Department officials did a routine inspection. They submitted a report. Police got involved and issued search warrants for patient records.

They were able to genetically link people with Hepatitis C to seven patients. And there may be more cases.

Lakeman, Dr. Desai, and Keith Mathahas face charges including reckless disregard for a person, criminal neglect for a patient, and obtaining money under false pretenses.

He is being held in the Muscogee County Jail as he awaits extradition to Nevada.

As for his connection to Columbus, Lakeman's record in Columbus is clean. He has no prior records.  And, since 2007 he has been the co-owner of a home in North Columbus.

What he was doing in Columbus or how he ended up here is still unknown.

News Leader 9 is following this story. We'll have the latest information as soon as it becomes available.

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