Article Courtesy of The Las Vegas
By Jeff German
July 23, 2015
Charles McChesney, a key player in the scheme to take
over and defraud Las Vegas Valley homeowners associations, was sentenced
Monday to 30 months in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge James Mahan also ordered McChesney to pay a share of
$100,000 in restitution and serve three years of supervised release
|McChesney apologized to Mahan and
said he regretted his participation in the massive
something that grew over time, and as it grew I grew
with it," McChesney said.
Mahan told McChesney his background as a private
investigator and bail bondsman made him a "dangerous
member of the conspiracy."
He gave McChesney until Oct. 23 to surrender to federal
McChesney pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy and
three wire fraud counts, all felonies, and agreed to
cooperate with federal prosecutors. He is among the last
of more than 40 defendants being sentenced in the
long-running investigation, which became public in
September 2008 with FBI-led raids across the Las Vegas
Charles McChesney exits the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse in Las
Vegas on Monday, July 20, 2015. McChesney pleaded guilty to
conspiracy and three wire fraud accounts and will serve 30
Former construction company boss Leon Benzer, the man behind the massive
takeover scheme, is to be sentenced before Mahan on Aug. 6.
Benzer, 47, who pleaded guilty without a cooperation agreement, provided
a lengthy explanation in his plea deal of his leadership in the
multimillion-dollar takeover scheme between 2003 and 2009.
The sweeping HOA investigation, spearheaded by the Justice
Department‘??s Fraud Section in Washington, is thought to be the largest
public corruption case federal authorities have brought in Southern
Prosecutors have alleged that McChesney, 49, was a straw buyer and
controlled board member at the Chateau Nouveau HOA, one of a dozen
targeted by Benzer in the takeover conspiracy.
Through election rigging and other dirty tricks, the conspirators packed
association boards with members who voted to award and hand out
construction defect contracts to Benzer worth millions of dollars at the
expense of the homeowners.
In court papers, prosecutors had sought a 46-month sentence for
McChesney because of his prominent role in the scheme.
Prosecutors alleged McChesney was a key leader in Benzer‘s push to
obtain a multimillion-dollar construction defect contract at Chateau
Nouveau, which had as many as seven controlled board members during the
life of the conspiracy.
"At times defendant McChesney served as traffic controller for this
large and sometimes uncooperative set of of co-conspirators, making sure
they received orders from higher levels of the conspiracy and making
sure they followed those orders," prosecutors wrote.
McChesney also served as the scheme‘s "enforcer," using intimidation to
keep co-conspirators in line, according to prosecutors.
And he played an important role in helping Benzer steal $450,000 from
the Vistana HOA after the takeover scheme was exposed by authorities,
prosecutors said. Benzer had previously obtained more than $7 million
from Vistana in construction defect work that was either done poorly or
not done at all.