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14 more plead guilty in Vegas-area HOA fraud case
by Tribune Staff
Jun 01, 2012 | 708 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A prosecutor told a federal judge in Las Vegas that more indictments may come after 14 defendants pleaded guilty in a sweeping federal investigation of southern Nevada homeowner associations steering business to favored attorneys and businesses.

The assembly line-style proceedings Thursday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas brought to 25 the number of people who have pleaded guilty since last year in an ongoing HOA fraud and corruption probe focusing on rigged elections that packed homeowner association boards with co-conspirators between 2003 and 2009.

Two people linked to the case have died in apparent suicides this year.

Fifteen defendants were scheduled to take part in the group plea deal, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Friday. But one defendant’s appearance was postponed due to illness.

Halfway into the proceedings, Charles La Bella, a top Washington, D.C.-based Justice Department fraud prosecutor, told Judge James Mahan that he planned to continue presenting evidence to a federal grand jury this summer.

Among those pleading guilty Thursday were two former attorneys, three retired Las Vegas police officers, a former homeowner community manager and several people who admitted they served as straw buyers.

Each pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and agreed to cooperate with the prosecution. Combined, they agreed to pay more than $1.2 million to victims. Some defendants are on the hook for about $6,000. Others, almost $370,000.
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