FROM NEVADA, a story of massive alleged fraud involving construction defect litigation, steering jobs to “preferred” contractors, law firms in cahoots with the management company…all brought about by a raid by the FBI.
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Federal and local law enforcement officers raided nine sites around the valley on Wednesday in a sweeping probe into possible collusion between homeowners associations and businesses benefitting from construction defect lawsuits.
The raids are part of a “pending public corruption case,” according to Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesman Dave Staretz, who refused to release details. He said no arrests were made.
According to a law enforcement source, the FBI is investigating whether individuals were placed on homeowners association boards who, in turn, would direct business stemming from construction defect lawsuits to select companies.
At issue, according to the source, is whether HOA members were steering contracts to certain construction companies.
Other sources said there has long been speculation that some HOA representatives were hiring certain law firms to handle construction defect lawsuits in exchange for kickbacks.
State Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas, a lawmaker who has been involved in homeowners association issues before the Legislature, said the speculation involved management companies steering construction defect business to law firms in exchange for kickbacks.
One of the companies raided Wednesday by FBI agents and Las Vegas police was a business in an industrial area near the Palms owned by Leon Benzer, who is involved in a variety of businesses.
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