Real Estate & Property Law

4 new pleas in record Las Vegas corruption case; defense lawyers for others OK secret evidence pact


Four more defendants have taken pleas in a high-profile Nevada federal corruption case involving bid-rigging and election fraud at homeowner associations in the Las Vegas area.

When Ricky Anderson, Maria Limon, and brothers Jose Luis Alvarez and Rudolfo Alvarez-Rodriguez enter their guilty pleas next week, that will bring the total of those who have accepted plea deals in the record-breaking HOA case to at least 35, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. It is believed to be the biggest corruption case ever pursued by the feds in Southern Nevada. Alvarez, Alvarez-Rodriguez, Anderson and Limon are accused of acting as straw buyers in a scheme to take over HOAs.

Another six defendants await trial in October on fraud and conspiracy charges. Lawyers for five of the six on Monday signed an usual pact agreeing to keep secret evidence that they will view at the U.S. Attorney’s office. A general protective order was imposed earlier, the newspaper notes.

One defense attorney, Chris Rasmussen, refused to sign. He represents Edith Gillespie, a relative of Leon Benzer, the claimed mastermind of the plot to take over the homeowner associations.

“I’ve never seen a protective order like this,” Rasmussen told the newspaper. “I don’t feel comfortable signing it. I just think it puts too much on us to protect these secrets.”

A suspended attorney, Barry Levinson, pleaded guilty in February to felony mail and wire fraud conspiracy and attempted tax evasion charges. He is one of a number of lawyers accused in connection with the scheme.

In an agreement with prosecutors, Levinson admitted that he had treated Benzer as his client even though he was representing a victimized homeowner association, Park Avenue, and upheld a rigged election of HOA board members that was supported by bribes, the Review-Journal reports.

See also:

ABA Journal.com: “Two lawyers among 11 federally indicted re massive alleged HOA corruption scheme”

ABAJournal.com: “Suspended lawyer is accused of stealing $1M from client settlements”

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