Nearing an end to one of the longest and widest-ranging criminal cases in Las Vegas history, a federal jury Tuesday convicted four defendants charged in the massive scheme to take over and defraud homeowners associations.
The jury deliberated several hours before reaching its verdict on the heels of a three-week trial in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge James Mahan.
Prosecutors contended the multimillion-dollar scheme was carried out between 2003 and 2009 by former construction company boss Leon Benzer and the late construction defects lawyer Nancy Quon. Benzer has since pleaded guilty. Quon committed suicide in 2012 under the weight of the high-profile investigation.
The four defendants, including former Benzer attorney Keith Gregory, were convicted of conspiracy and wire fraud charges. Also found guilty were Benzer’s half-sister Edith Gillespie, who recruited straw homebuyers; Salvatore Ruvolo, a Benzer-controlled HOA board member at Park Avenue and Chateau Nouveau; and David Ball, whom Benzer placed on the Chateau Nouveau HOA board.
The long-running investigation, spearheaded by the Justice Department’s fraud section in Washington, is considered the largest public corruption case federal authorities have brought here. The investigation became public in September 2008 with FBI-led raids across the valley.
The defendants, who were indicted with Benzer in January 2013, showed little emotion in court as the clerk read the verdicts. Lawyers for some of the defendants said afterward they plan to appeal. Read more: