First Conviction in Massive HOA Probe - 8 News NOW

First Conviction in Massive HOA Probe

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LAS VEGAS -- A high-profile political insider has pled guilty to his role in an ongoing investigation involving Las Vegas-area homeowners' associations.

The FBI says Steve Wark has pled guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. 8 News NOW broke the story of the investigation nearly three years ago.

Investigators say Wark admitted that he was involved in a scheme to control various HOA boards so the boards could award construction defect lawsuits to a law firm and construction company designated by Wark's co-conspirators.

According to court documents, in order to accomplish the scheme, the co-conspirators used straw purchasers to buy units within HOA communities.

Wark admitted that he agreed to become a principal and managing partner of a business entity for the sole purpose of purchasing a condo at the Vistana Condominiums complex under the business' name.

I-Team: HOA Insider Breaks Silence

Wark admitted that his co-conspirators provided the down payment and monthly payments, including HOA dues and mortgage payments, for the condo and were the true owners of the property. Wark then agreed to run for election to the HOA board at Vistana.

Once elected to the board, Wark accepting from his co-conspirators compensation and gratuities resulting in a conflict of interest. Wark admitted that after being elected to the board and accepting payments from his co-conspirators, he subsequently voted in a manner favorable to his co-conspirators.

Wark admitted that he also acted as the co-conspirators' campaign consultant to help ensure the co-conspirators were elected to HOA boards.

The maximum sentence for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud is 30 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 16.

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