Las Vegas Mobster Leon Benzer Pleads Guilty

Well, the guilty plea was made. Federal Judge Mahan accepted it. No sentence yet. Leon Benzer might be surprised to hear himself described as a mobster, but that’s exactly what he is. He conspired with lawyers, police officials, judicial officials, and state politicians to steal millions of dollars from Nevada Homeowners Associations. That’s called racketeering. You don’t need to be Italian to be a mobster. You just have to have a massive deficit of character.

Traditionally, white collar criminals get about 18 months in prison no matter how many millions they’ve stolen. Benzer has bankrupted an unknown number of Las Vegas homeowners. The damage he inflicted will impact generations of American families. In the end, he made himself a multi-millionaire at the expense of ordinary citizens. He conspired with mobsters and drug cartels in Mexico to hide his fortune. When he walks out of prison he’ll retire to waterfront property in some exotic locale and laugh at the stupidity of all the people he swindled.

Benzer will laugh at the impotent American legal system which couldn’t come close to touching the real scope of his swindle. He’ll snigger at FBI agents who spent years trying to uncover his scam. He’ll laugh at prosecutors and a judge who couldn’t give him life in prison. And he’ll look back fondly at his time in prison bragging to cellmates about how much fun he had doing this swindle. I know all of this because I’ve spent four decades investigating and exposing white collar criminals. Despite federal prison sentences they love what they do.

White collar criminals are addicted to their lifestyles. To the victims it’s devastating. To the mobsters it’s all a game.

(link to ReviewJournal article on Benzer’s guilty plea)

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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

5 thoughts on “Las Vegas Mobster Leon Benzer Pleads Guilty

  1. Nila Ridings

    I’m sure you’re right, Ward.

    I tend to believe he will also teach his cellmates, and anyone else that wants some new tips on how to get rich quick, about the easy target HOAs are for thieves, liars, and scammers. Yep, the latest and greatest “teaching moments” are about to experienced in some Nevada prison. As short as his stay will probably be, plenty of released felons will be anxious to try out their new skills in one of the hundreds of thousands of HOAs across the country. All thanks to the teachings of Benzer himself!

    1. Ward Lucas Post author

      Nila, you’re spot on. These mobsters love teaching cellmates how it’s done. A famous one was Arvey Drown, a swindler who stole tens of millions of dollars from investors. He told us that his biggest thrill was bragging to cellmates and teaching them all the angles. Federal prison is too good for these guys.

      1. Nila Ridings

        What Nevada should do is put him out picking up trash along the highways for a couple of years with no contact with any other inmates. Otherwise, he’s being given the golden opportunity to educate his newest recruits.

        Who does background checks on HOA board members? Either nobody or their buddies on the board. How many board members are qualified to be bonded? How would a homeowner know when it’s not required? How many board members are convicted felons? Your guess is as good as mine.

        It’s very clear why prison is nothing more than a business opportunity for Benzer. And why all HOAs in America could be at even higher risk by him being incarcerated.

        I’ve said it many times, HOAs are a thieves paradise. Now even more so. Lookout HOA members they could be coming to the HOA with contracts that bind you!

        1. Dave Russell

          Good point, Nila. Who is doing the background checks on board members? Sending these guys to prison, is like sending the local neighborhood thug to mafia headquarters as an instructor!

  2. daniel kirchner

    Just a quick comment what a senseless batch of comments these are . Damn get lives and do it fast life is short kids!


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