White-Collar Crime

Judge plans to take plea in case over $3M investment-fraud scheme, his lawyer says

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Suspended from the bench with pay in 2012 after he and five other defendants were federally indicted in a claimed $3 million investment fraud scheme, a Nevada family court judge is now on the verge of taking a plea.

The docket shows Judge Steven Jones, 56, is scheduled to plead guilty Wednesday along with three co-defendants in the Las Vegas case. Two other defendants agreed to plea deals earlier, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. A prior Las Vegas Review-Journal article provides additional details.

Attorney Robert Draskovich represents Jones. He told the newspaper that his client has agreed to give up his seat on the bench and his law license in exchange for an agreement from prosecutors not to seek more than 27 months after Jones pleads guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The judge, who was first elected to the bench in 1992, is accused of using the power of his office to help vouch for the scheme and shielding his former brother-in-law, Thomas A. Cecrle Jr., who is portrayed by prosecutors as a ringleader, from legal consequences. The group allegedly recruited investors between 2002 and 2012 by telling them that Cecrle, who was unemployed, had access as a government employee to special programs that could provide fantastic returns on short-term loans. The feds contend the money actually went to pay personal expenses of those who ran the scheme.

Cecrle is also scheduled to take a plea Wednesday.

Jones is “looking forward to putting this behind him,” Draskovich told the Review-Journal last week.

The articles don’t include any comment from Cecrle or his lawyer.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Vegas Judge, 5 Others Federally Indicted re Claimed $3M Fraud Scheme”

ABAJournal.com: “Previously suspended after fraud indictment, judge gets 3 months without pay in separate ethics case”

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