NEVADA – New details revealed in HOA fraud case
After months of maneuvering behind the scenes, losing a $7 million contract to fix defects at the Vistana condominium complex was not an option for construction company boss Leon Benzer. As the critical homeowners association vote loomed in September 2007, federal prosecutors say, Benzer took no chances when one of the three majority board members on his payroll, Jose Luis Alvarez, balked at supporting the contract and darted off to Mexico. Benzer recruited someone to pose as Alvarez over the telephone at the meeting and vote for the contract, along with $1 million in upfront money that Benzer needed to keep alive a massive scheme to take over Las Vegas-area homeowners associations, prosecutors say. It’s thought to be the final act of corruption in Benzer’s campaign to ensure that his company, Silver Lining Construction, landed the lucrative Vistana contract.
The revelation is one of several that shed new light on the high-profile HOA case in more than 300 pages of documents filed recently by trial attorneys with the Justice Department’s Fraud Section in Washington, D.C. Benzer, who has denied wrongdoing, and five co-defendants are awaiting trial on conspiracy and fraud charges. Justice Department lawyers are not opposing another defense push to delay the October trial until March. Read more: