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Colombian Lawyer Gets Max, Up to 9 Years, in Unlicensed Las Vegas Plastic Surgery Death

Posted Oct 20, 2011 8:16 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A Colombian prosecutor and her husband apologized and pleaded for leniency from a Nevada judge today, saying they hadn't intended to harm a woman who died from an allergic reaction to anesthesia in an unlicensed plastic surgery procedure they reportedly performed in a Las Vegas tile store during a vacation.

But Clark County District Court Judge Abbi Silver was not sympathetic, giving Carmen Torres-Sanchez, 47, a career lawyer with the Colombian attorney general's office, and her husband, Ruben Matallana-Galvas, 56, the maximum possible sentence, reports the Associated Press.

Each got a term of 3 to 8 years in state prison, plus another year in Clark County's jail, plus a $12,000 fine in the felony involuntary manslaughter and conspiracy and misdemeanor practicing medicine without a license case. The two pleaded guilty to the charges in August and cannot appeal their sentences. They will be deported after they serve them, because their tourist visas have expired.

Torres-Sanchez reportedly assisted her husband, a homeopathic physician in their own country, in the operation. Her defense lawyer asked the judge to consider her corruption-fighting work in Colombia. That elicited a lecture from Silver:

“Talk about corrupt. Where do you begin in this case?” the judge erupted. “You and your husband set up this shop in the back of this tile store. You assisted him in practicing medicine without a license. All for money.

“What you did was morally and legally corrupt,” the judge told Torres-Sanchez. “You, of all people, know better.”

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Lawyer Charged with 2nd-Degree Murder, Accused of Performing Unlicensed Cosmetic Surgery"

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