Friday, August 21, 2015

Construction Company Boss Gets 15+ Years For Role In $58 Million Racket Using Straw Buyers & Palm Grease To Fraudulently Wrestle Control Over HOAs To Steer Lucrative Contracts His Way

From the U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.):
  • A former construction boss from Las Vegas was sentenced [on August 6, 2015] to 188 months in prison for his role in a $58,141,275 million scheme to fraudulently gain control of condominium homeowners’ associations (HOAs) in the Las Vegas area to secure construction and other contracts for himself and others. Forty-two individuals have been convicted of crimes in connection with the scheme.

    ***

    Leon Benzer, 48, pleaded guilty on Jan. 23, 2015, to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, 14 counts of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud and two counts of tax evasion. In addition to imposing the prison term, U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan of the District of Nevada ordered Benzer to pay restitution in the amount of $13,294,100.

    Leon Benzer recruited and paid off puppets to serve on homeowners’ boards so that they would steer lucrative contracts to his company and cronies,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “Far from enjoying their corrupt proceeds, however, Benzer and his co-conspirators will serve years behind prison bars.”

    ***

    In connection with his guilty plea, Benzer admitted that, from approximately August 2003 through February 2009, he and an attorney developed a scheme to control the boards of directors of HOAs in the Las Vegas area. According to plea documents, Benzer and his co-conspirators recruited straw buyers to purchase condominiums and secure positions on HOAs’ boards of directors. Benzer admitted that he paid the board members to take actions favorable to his interests, including hiring his co-conspirator’s law firm to handle construction-related litigation and awarding remedial construction contracts to Benzer’s company, Silver Lining Construction.

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