Federal Charges Brought Against Real Estate Consultant and Son for Monies Paid to Former Clark County Commissioner Kenny
Las Vegas, Nev. - The Federal Grand Jury returned an indictment today against a Las Vegas businessman and his son charging them with conspiracy, mail fraud, and money laundering for making payments to a former Clark County Commissioner in order to influence her vote in connection with matters before the Commission, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada and Ellen B. Knowlton, Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI for Nevada.
DONALD M. DAVIDSON, age 71, and his son, LAWRENCE J. DAVIDSON, age 39, both of Las Vegas, are charged with one count of Conspiracy, 10 counts of Mail Fraud, and two counts of Money Laundering. If convicted, they face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the Conspiracy charge, up to 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine on the Mail Fraud charges, and up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine on the Money Laundering charges.
"The citizens of Clark County and throughout the State of Nevada deserve to know that individuals involved in a scheme to improperly influence elected officials and deprive citizens of their right to impartial and honest services of government, will be investigated and vigorously prosecuted," said U.S. Attorney Bogden.
"Not only will our elected officials be held accountable for violating the public's trust, but those who intend to unlawfully influence their decision-making authority, will be held accountable as well," said FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Knowlton.
The Indictment states that defendant DONALD M. DAVIDSON worked as a consultant in matters involving real estate and governmental affairs, and that defendant LAWRENCE J. DAVIDSON was an attorney licensed to practice law in Nevada. It alleges that from about 2001 to May 2003, the defendants and Kenny conspired to deprive the citizens of Clark County of their right to the honest services of Clark County Commissioner Erin Kenny, and conspired to launder money that DONALD M. DAVIDSON caused to be given to Kenny.
In the spring and summer of 2001, DONALD M. DAVIDSON agreed to assist the owner of a piece of land on the corner of Buffalo Drive and Desert Inn Road ("Buffalo/DI property"), in getting the property re-zoned from rural/residential use to commercial use. DONALD M. DAVIDSON did so in exchange for a 15 percent interest in the partnership that owned the land and $200,000 in fees.
It is alleged that from about 2000 to May 2003, DONALD M. DAVIDSON and Erin Kenny met once a month socially. At various times, DONALD M. DAVIDSON told Kenny that she should leave politics and go into business with him, and that he would give her a large amount of money to get started in business. At each meeting, DONALD M. DAVIDSON gave Kenny $3,000 cash from a real estate developer because of a favorable vote that Kenny had cast in a controversial matter on behalf of the developer. In the spring and summer of 2001, DONALD M. DAVIDSON told Kenny that he was working for a developer who was attempting to re-zone the Buffalo/DI property, and asked her to "look after" the matter before the County Commission.
In the summer of 2001, DONALD M. DAVIDSON told Kenny he would give her $200,000, and they discussed ways she could conceal her receipt of the money. It was agreed that the money would be placed in a trust account set up by defendant LAWRENCE DAVIDSON, and held in the name of a nominee. In December 2001, the trust was established with the Nevada Secretary of State and named the Ovington Nevada, L.L.C. In December 2001 and January 2002, DONALD M. DAVIDSON caused $200,000 from the sale of the Buffalo/DI property to be paid to LAWRENCE DAVIDSON, who in turn caused most of it to be paid to the trust. Kenny failed to disclose on financial disclosure forms that she had received the monies.
On five occasions, beginning on May 16, 2001, and ending on January 16, 2002, Kenny voted on zoning changes and advocated for the passage of matters in favor of the owners of the Buffalo/DI property, without disclosing her financial dealings and discussions with defendant DONALD M. DAVIDSON.
In a separate Indictment also returned by the Federal Grand Jury today, LAWRENCE DAVIDSON is charged with 20 counts of mail fraud and four counts of money laundering for allegedly defrauding numerous clients of settlement funds in cases LAWRENCE DAVIDSON handled for them in his capacity as an attorney in Las Vegas.
It is alleged that from approximately May 2003 to September 2004, LAWRENCE J. DAVIDSON negotiated settlement agreements with opposing parties without the permission of his clients, so that he could use the proceeds for himself. The Indictment alleges that he fraudulently negotiated 17 settlements on behalf of 14 clients totaling $936,300, and that he withdrew such monies from a bank account in his name.
If convicted, LAWRENCE J. DAVIDSON faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine on the Mail Fraud charges, and up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine on the Money Laundering charges.
Defendant DONALD M. DAVIDSON was summoned; defendant LAWRENCE J. DAVIDSON is currently in federal custody in relation to his conviction in Case No. CR-S-04-0457. Both are scheduled to make initial appearances before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the near future.
This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel R. Schiess and Department of Justice Trial Attorney David E. Malagold.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.