LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Months ago former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson admitted to and apologized for using nearly a quarter-million dollars in campaign contributions for personal use. But his remorse wasn’t enough to get him out of hot water because Atkinson will soon answer for those crimes. Atkinson is set to be sentenced Thursday on federal wire fraud charges.
It was back in early March when the news of Atkinson’s then-imminent resignation was announced. The accusations did not surprise many Carson City insiders. However, his tearful speech still reverberated around the senate chamber:
“It is with great sadness that I am announcing my resignation from the senate and this legislative body,” Atkinson said.
Atkinson announced his resignation after the feds closed in on him. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says investigators discovered more than $450,000 in purchases that were not accounted for on Atkinson’s campaign finance documents over an eight-year period.
Atkinson admitted to bilking $249,900 of campaign cash and using it to help open his “Urban Lounge” bar which is located downtown. He also used that money to lease a luxury SUV and pay off a hundred grand in credit card debt, among other things.
Investigators also found out Atkinson co-mingled his private and campaign bank accounts, which is something expressly forbidden under state law.
“Regretfully, it has been discovered that I have used campaign funds for personal use,” Atkinson said. “Thus, I will be taking full responsibility for that.”
Atkinson learned of the investigation in late January when federal agents served a search warrant. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is asking for 30 months, and Atkinson’s attorneys are asking for a lower sentence.
Atkinson is scheduled to be sentenced by a federal judge Thursday at 10:30 a.m.