Former Clark County Commissioners Sentenced To Prison For Federal Corruption Convictions
Las Vegas, Nev. – Former Clark County Commissioners Dario Herrera and Mary Kincaid-Chauncey were sentenced to prison terms today for their convictions last May on public corruption charges, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence R. Hicks ordered Dario Herrera, age 33, to serve 50 months in prison, pay a $15,000 fine, and forfeit $60,000 in assets, and Mary Kincaid-Chauncey, age 67, to serve 30 months in prison, pay a $7,500 fine, and forfeit $19,000 in assets. They were found guilty on May 5, 2006, of conspiracy and multiple counts of wire fraud and extortion under color of official right for depriving the Clark County Commission and the citizens of Clark County of their right to the honest services of public officials.
"It is the government's responsibility to ensure that public officials perform their duties in a fair and unbiased way and that they are seen doing so," said U.S. Attorney Bogden. "The cutting out of corruption has been and remains one of the top priorities of the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Nevada."
Mr. Herrera and Ms. Kincaid-Chauncey are released on bond and must self-report to prison no later than January 12, 2007.
The evidence introduced at trial demonstrated that defendants Kincaid-Chauncey, Herrera, and another former county commissioner Erin Kenny, used their public offices to further the interests of Michael Galardi, a strip club owner in Las Vegas. They solicited and accepted money, property, and services directly from Galardi and through co-defendant Lance Malone, another former county commissioner. The evidence demonstrated that members of the conspiracy concealed the payments they received from Galardi and failed to disclose the payments as required by law and their fiduciary duties as county commissioners.
Some of the matters which the defendants corruptly influenced include the passage of a Clark County Ordinance that increased the separation between strip clubs from 500 to 1000 feet; the issuance of zoning use permits and liquor license for Jaguars; the controlling and harassing of Galardi's business competitors; and the defeat of a proposed ordinance that would have prohibited all touching between dancers and patrons except hand-to-hand tipping.
Michael Galardi pleaded guilty in October 2003 to violating the RICO Act. Galardi testified at trial that from at least 1994 to May 2003, he and his co-conspirators devised a scheme to increase the profitability and competitive advantage of his strip clubs in Las Vegas by paying certain local public officials money or providing them property and services in exchange for their influence over matters that came before them. Galardi testified that directly, or through intermediaries, he paid over time $400,000 to certain public officials. Mr. Galardi's sentencing date has not yet been set.
Erin Kenny pleaded guilty in July 2003 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud, and also testified at trial. Ms. Kenny testified that around June 2001, she entered into an agreement with Michael Galardi and Lance Malone in which they would pay her to use her official position to exercise influence on the Clark County Commission over matters affecting Galardi's businesses. Kenny admitted that she received cash payments from Galardi through Malone for using her influence to pass and/or amend Clark County ordinances beneficial to Galardi and his businesses. Ms. Kenny is currently scheduled to be sentenced on September 22, 2006, at 9:00 a.m.
Lance Malone is charged with Conspiracy, Wire Fraud, Extortion Under Color of Official Right, RICO Conspiracy, and Criminal Forfeiture. His trial is scheduled to begin in Las Vegas on September 18, 2006.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel R. Schiess, First Assistant United States Attorney Steven W. Myhre, and Department of Justice Trial Attorneys David Malagold and Tom Ott.