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.
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!
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.
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.
Well, good old Las Vegas mobster Leon Benzer has finally met justice in his plan to steal millions and millions of dollars from Homeowners Associations. Not much justice, but at least federal judge James Mahan has now sentenced Benzer to 15 1/2 years in federal prison. With ‘good time’ he may end up spending seven years behind bars. Most of his 38 co-conspirators in the massive scam to take over Las Vegas Homeowners Associations got probation to a year-and-a-half in prison.
Of the other conspirators, a number have died, some of them by suicide. Benzer was the last to be sentenced in the long-running case.