By Mike Colpitts
Four retired Las Vegas police officers and two real estate agents are among a group of 26 people who have pled guilty to federal charges related to a major fraud scheme involving a dozen Nevada condominium complexes.
Federal prosecutors say the conspiracy was bank rolled with more than $8 million funneled through a series of secret accounts the conspirators set up in an elaborate scheme over more than seven years.
The scheme involved enlisting straw buyers to act as purchasers and then take positions on condominium association boards so they could steer construction, management and legal work to others inside the ring between August 2003 and February 2009.
In a plea deal worked out with federal prosecutors, 14 of the defendants pled guilty to charges related to the operation in federal court Friday, pleading guilty to commit mail and wire fraud. The defendants who pleaded guilty include: Rosalio Alcantar, 60; Patrick Bergsrud, 43; Robert Bolten, 44; Glenn Brown, 52; Paul Citelli, 59; Michelle DeLuca, 51; Charles Hawkins, 51; Sami Robert Hindiyeh, 54; Lisa Kim, 47; Brian Jones, 38; Morris Mattingly, 51; Frank Sutton, 58; Anthony Roy Wilson, 34; and Jeanne Winkler, 44.
In order to accomplish the scheme, the defendants identified condominium associations that could bring construction defect cases to court. The group then enlisted real estate agents to identify condo units within the communities to purchase, soliciting buyers as straw purchasers to use their names and credit to make the purchases.
Some of those involved provided down payments and money for monthly mortgage payments, including condo association dues. Members of the group operated and managed the payments associated with the properties, and wired funds for the transactions between California and Nevada, making it against federal statues.
Patrick Bergsrud and Anthony Roy Wilson admitted in their plea agreements filed in federal court in Las Vegas to working as real estate agents targeting units in condo developments for use by the group and assisted with legal property transfer documents.
Wilson also assisted in the corruption developing ways to increase capital, including the refinancing of some condo units to recapture the down payments and other fees. He also admitted to managing the finances for the properties.
Bergsrud, Bolten, Citelli, Hawkins, Mattingly and Sutton admitted in their plea documents that they acted as straw purchasers.
Alcantar admitted that he opened and managed five bank accounts on behalf of the organization’s construction company owner, using names of shell limited liability companies for the purpose of concealing the identity of the individuals funding the conspiracy. He also admitted to managing the transfer of more than $8 million during the seven years the operation was underway.