Tag Archives: FBI

Changes at Las Vegas Review-Journal

Since 2007 newspapers and TV stations around the country have been collapsing. Newspapers like the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Rocky Mountain News and many others have simply gone out of business. But I’m learning that the Las Vegas Review-Journal is thinking about growing and creating a new investigative team. As far as I’m concerned that’s incredibly good news.

Without the investigative reporting of staff member Jeff German this country would know nothing about the massive Las Vegas HOA scandal that sent more than three dozen people, including lawyers, cops and public officials to prison.

More investigative reporting? Praise the Lord!

(link to Review-Journal’s plan to increase investigative reporting staff)




When I’m Wrong, I’ll Admit it

Rumors are that the mastermind of the 60 million dollar Las Vegas HOA scam has reported for his federal prison sentence. I’ve long predicted that Leon Benzer would never, ever report to federal prison. He knows how to get in and out of Mexico. He once owned a tequila company there. With a 15 1/2 year prison sentence would he not be tempted to cross the border?

I’m still not giving up my suspicion that Benzer will retire to a Mexican beach. He’ll only serve half his prison time, anyway, so maybe he actually will show up. And the white collar criminals I’ve known have absolutely loved their time in prison. They’re worshiped as heroes behind bars. Of course, Benzer knows that. But we’ll see.

And yes, I’ll admit it if my prediction was wrong.


The Ongoing Las Vegas HOA Horror Show

I’ve been in the news business for 40 years and I’ve seen so many goofy things happen. Nothing surprises me anymore.

Yes, police investigators need to ask for lighter prison sentences for informants. But they have an overwhelming obligation to protect the public. That’s their primary job. When the number two player in a 60 million dollar scam victimizing Las Vegas homeowners agrees to cooperate with investigators, does that mean he gets off scott-free? Apparently in Las Vegas that’s exactly what it means. Ralph Priola could have been sentenced to 22 years. But federal prosecutors say he deserves no prison time. NONE!

Remember, Priola didn’t voluntarily cooperate with the cops. He was forced. This was a man caught throwing around 20,000 dollar bribes. This was a man as fundamentally corrupt as his boss, Leon Benzer, the mastermind of this massive scam. No jail time? Come on, guys, this was one of the two crooks who crashed the Las Vegas housing market. Prosecutors say he should only pay about 12 million dollars in restitution. But that’ll never happen. That will never, ever happen.

Jeff German, reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, deserves a Pulitzer for the work he’s done on the HOA scandal. It would be a major crime if he didn’t win ALL the journalism awards.

(link to German’s story on Ralph Priola)


HOA Scam Lawyer Dies In Prison

Barry Levinson, a disbarred attorney who was one of the top figures in the massive Las Vegas HOA scam, has died while in federal custody. Now his lawyer is planning to sue the prison system for medical negligence.

The federal HOA investigation was the first of its kind in the country. Forty-two people were convicted, but most were given very light sentences. Officially, about 20 million dollars was stolen from residents in Las Vegas HOAs. But because of the collapse in value of all Las Vegas real estate the impact of the HOA scam rises well above 100 million in losses.

(link to Las Vegas Review Journal story on Levinson’s death)

By the way, reporter Jeff German deserves every journalism award in the book for his ongoing and thorough reporting of the Vegas HOA scam.



What’s The Cause?

guest blog by Nila Ridings

We’re back in Saint Louis, Missouri where homeowners are in the midst of a very heated battle.

Some are saying it’s over skin color. Others say it’s the barking dogs. A few think it’s the criminal history. Whatever it is, it’s heating up.

These folks live in an HOA. Personally, I do not see where the HOA should even think of getting involved in this battle.

The black lesbian lady with the four barking dogs has the NAACP and experienced Ferguson protesters backing her up. She has served time in prison for a murder-for-hire on her ex-husband. And that plan failed because her cousin was the hired killer and he ratted her out to the police. Somewhere along the way she acquired the barking dogs that are keeping the neighbor awake at night. She is also being accused of punching the neighbor lady in the face and leaving her with a swollen lip and bloody nose.

I see HOA involvement as nothing more than a promise to destroy the bank accounts of the homeowners. Others think they should enforce the CC&Rs of no more than two dogs per household. I still say stay away from this battle.

And for the lady who can’t get any sleep, I suggest a white noise machine with earplugs. You’ll never hear the barking dogs but be sure you have a number of smoke alarms in your house so you would hear them if there’s an emergency.

As the battle rages on, I will be watching from the sidelines.

(link to story in the St. Louis Post Dispatch)
Youtube video of barking dogs: