NEVADA – HOA case defendant gets yearlong federal prison term

Las Vegas Review-Journal:  HOA case defendant gets yearlong federal prison term
By Jeff German
June 20, 2014

The first defendant sentenced in the massive scheme to take over homeowners associations was given 366 days in federal prison Friday. Kenneth Allen, 69, a former HOA board member who did not have a deal to cooperate with federal prosecutors, also was ordered to pay $139,106 in restitution. Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro gave Allen until Sept. 18 to surrender to prison authorities. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to one felony count of wire fraud. Thirty-three other defendants who cooperated in the high-profile case are waiting to be sentenced in January after the federal fraud trial of former construction company boss Leon Benzer, the accused mastermind of the scheme, and five other defendants. The trial is to start Oct. 14 before U.S. District Judge James Mahan.

In his plea agreement, Allen admitted that he bought a condominium in 2007 with Benzer’s money at Sunset Cliffs and submitted a false loan application that hid Benzer’s involvement in the $177,000 purchase. Then, according to prosecutors, Allen got elected to the HOA board, joining two other Benzer-planted board members who were in a position to help Benzer land lucrative construction defect contracts. On Friday, Allen admitted that he committed mortgage fraud and was sorry for what he did. But he insisted he was duped by Benzer and wasn’t part of the takeover scheme at Sunset Cliffs in 2008. “I trusted him,” Allen told Navarro. “I thought he was on the up and up. It turned out he was a scam artist.”  Read more:

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