I-Team: More Targets in HOA Conspiracy - 8 News NOW

I-Team: More Targets in HOA Conspiracy

Posted: Updated:

LAS VEGAS -- Twenty five people have now admitted their guilt in a massive political corruption conspiracy involving a dozen local homeowner associations, but the case is far from over.

Federal lawmen say the investigation is ongoing and as many as a dozen additional targets are in their crosshairs.

It was tough trying to get a comment out of any of the defendants in the HOA corruption case. They bolted, dodged, and hid their faces as they entered and left federal court Thursday.

Defendant Lisa Kim was far less talkative than she had been inside the courtroom. "You guys are ridiculous. You should be embarrassed," she said to the I-Team crew.

The History of the HOA Scandal

Defendant Paul Citelli found himself bouncing like a ping pong ball between two I-Team cameras. The HOA mess is not his first trouble with the law. The FBI thinks he's affiliated with the Buffalo mob. The Review-Journal's John Smith reported last year that Citelli was part of a huge Mafia cocaine ring back in the 1980s.

It's not surprising that attorney Brian Jones and disbarred lawyer Jeanne Winkler declined comment since that's what lawyers do, but inside the courthouse, they -- like the others who appeared -- all told the judge they were guilty of participating in the conspiracy to take over and pillage a dozen homeowner associations to the tune of millions of dollars.

Patrick Bergsrud, for instance, helped loot the Vistana HOA even after news of the FBI probe had already broken.

"In 2008, after the FBI raids, he went to a bank and withdrew the last $450,000, leaving Vistana with $2,000 out of the $8 million we won, and very little repair work was done," said Bruce Wallace with the Vistana HOA.

A rigged election at the Park Avenue HOA, orchestrated by a corrupt board, hurt every homeowner by directing huge sums to construction company owner Leon Benzer.

"We have 642 owners there. Every one was impacted by what they did," said Barbara Noto, Park Avenue HOA.

Chief prosecutor Charles Labella says his team will work through the summer on additional indictments. One obvious target is alleged ringleader Leon Benzer, who has yet to be charged.

The 25 who have already admitted their guilt will also face civil lawsuits filed by that HOA's that were financially gutted.

Defendants in the HOA case may have to contend with the IRS. Special Agent in Charge Paul Camacho told the I-Team that his office has been working closely with the FBI and Metro in the HOA investigation. Most of the money was undeclared income by the defendants.

  • Las Vegas NewsLas Vegas NewsMore>>

  • BREAKING NEWS: North Las Vegas Police investigate double shooting, one dead

    BREAKING NEWS: North Las Vegas Police investigate double shooting, one dead

    Saturday, April 19 2014 12:49 AM EDT2014-04-19 04:49:04 GMT
    North Las Vegas, NV. --North Las Vegas police are investigating a double shooting Friday night shortly before 8 p.m.Investigators said two men were shot at a home on Arbor Crest Street, near East Tropical Parkway and Donna Street.A 60-year-old man was taken to UMC Trauma with his condition unknown at this time. The second victim, a 37-year-old man, sustained non-life threatening injuries and treated on scene.Police are investigating the shooting as a domestic violence incident.More>>
    North Las Vegas, NV. --North Las Vegas police are investigating a double shooting Friday night shortly before 8 p.m.Investigators said two men were shot at a home on Arbor Crest Street, near East Tropical Parkway and Donna Street.A 60-year-old man was taken to UMC Trauma with his condition unknown at this time. The second victim, a 37-year-old man, sustained non-life threatening injuries and treated on scene.Police are investigating the shooting as a domestic violence incident.More>>
  • BREAKING NEWS: UMC lays off 100 employees

    BREAKING NEWS: UMC lays off 100 employees

    Friday, April 18 2014 9:52 PM EDT2014-04-19 01:52:41 GMT
    University Medical Center laid off more than 100 employees Friday and announced it will close four care centers.More>>
    University Medical Center laid off more than 100 employees Friday and announced it will close four care centers.More>>
  • Police investigate double stabbing

    Police investigate double stabbing

    Friday, April 18 2014 9:17 PM EDT2014-04-19 01:17:18 GMT
    Two people suffering stab wounds were rushed to the hospital Friday afternoon, Metro Police said.More>>
    Two people suffering stab wounds were rushed to the hospital Friday afternoon, Metro Police said.More>>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLAS. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.