Monday, January 14, 2013

It's Cold Now, But Things Are Heating Up!

Now for this week's forecast. It's going to be cold for one more night with the hard freeze warning continuing until Tuesday morning. Sometime this week, maybe as early as today, things will start heating up again. The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that it is likely federal prosecutors will seek indictments against as many as another dozen defendants in the HOA scheme this week, in what may be the culmination of an epic battle between good and evil. As you may recall, the investigation first came to light nearly five years ago in 2008 and has taken many twists and turns along the way with several deaths, rumors of local judges being potential targets for the indictments, and the installation of a Capriotti's in the Regional Justice Center. Anyone want to make any predictions about how this fizzles plays out? 

In other news, also according to the RJ, Judge Steven Jones and his attorney, James Jimmerson, are challenging the authority of the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline. The article notes that Jimmerson and Jones (new law firm name if Jones is removed from the bench?) contend that "the commission 'has exceeded its jurisdiction' in the case and 'does not have power to discipline' the judge." We have not seen the briefing, but does anyone have any thoughts on whether the Judicial Commission has authority to take action against Judge Jones?  

UPDATE 1/15/13:  The RJ reports that local attorneys Keith Gregory and Barry Levinson were among the final batch of indictments along with the "ringleader" Leon Benzer.  Despite the gossip, no judge was indicted.  True story or typical Nevada backroom justice?

25 comments:

  1. 4 words..
    Elizabeth Halverson
    Nick Delvecchio

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  2. How do I get judges out of disciplinary proceedings? By knowing as much or more than the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline! And remember folks, its important to know that you can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking your head up a bull's a$$, but you should know the answer before you ask the butcher the question.

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  3. Prosecutorial overreach and the death by suicide of accused. No analog to what is going on in Nevada of course.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/technolog/us-attorney-dismisses-internet-case-against-aaron-swartz-1B7956773

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  4. what happen to Zobrist?

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  5. http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/jan/14/las-vegas-lawyer-pleads-mortgage-fraud-scheme/

    That's what happened to Zobrist.

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  6. I've known Gerry for many years as a colleague and friend, and all I have to say is: What the hell?

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  7. While each person has their own motivation to engage in “questionable” business practices, the simple reason most attorneys seem to get into trouble is greed. We were all told, or for whatever reason believed, that a law degree was a license to print money, or at a minimum, make a bunch of money. The reality (based upon average income for the industry) is mostly a resounding NOT. If he did what the story says, it was not even “borderline legal” behavior. Using, or allowing to be used for your benefit, strawman purchasers is fraud.

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  8. I've know Gerry as well and I was thinking more like WTF

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  9. I consider Gerry one of my closest friends and sometimes when you pick the wrong business partners you look guilty regardless of whether you did anything wrong. None of you know anything about the actual business practices that occurred other than reciting what was in newspaper articles. Just like in any lawsuit, sometimes we have to evaluate our exposure and settle even when you don't feel there is any merit to the other side's case. The same goes for criminal actions and that same principle applied here.

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  10. 12:57: And sometimes you plead guilty when you get caught.

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  11. I agree with 12:57. Gerry is a friend of mine. Sad to see things go down this way.

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  12. 12:57-- I know and consider Gerry a friend. I also know the business entity through which he was conducting this real estate business. Therefore when you state that "None of you know anything about the actual business practices that occurred other than reciting what was in newspaper articles", that statement is not actually true.

    Strawman transactions are not fraud per se; it is the representations behind the straw purchases (owner occupancy etc.) which can be false. The problem is one throughout the real estate industry. The horror in the story is not that his company was engaged in strawman transactions but that an alleged $30MM was lost as part of the transaction. If no monies were lost, this would have been a non-story.

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  13. Any of you that know anything about federal sentencing guidelines and mortgage fraud cases understand that the $30MM number includes (but does not give credit for) a 60% + drop in the real estate market NOT due to any alleged fraud. The system is bullshit and Zob got caught up in it.

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  14. So it ends not with a bang but with a whimper.....

    http://www.lvrj.com/news/central-figure-conspirators-in-hoa-scheme-indicted-by-federal-grand-jury-186995631.html

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  15. @2:48 You are 100% correct.
    $53MM in loans with alleged losses of $30MM means that but for the 60%haircut which the real estate market in Las Vegas suffered, there would have been virtually zero losses on these loans, yet he is saddled with economic factors beyond his control.

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  16. I have known Zob for about three years. Seen him take on more pro bono work that just about any other lawyer I've ever known. Just a straight up stand-up kinda guy and there first to lend a hand when the chips are down. One of the good guys in my book. Whatever did or didn't happen I can't imagine that he would have or could have defrauded anyone under any circumstances. This just sucks.

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  17. I'd love to know who the "co-conspirators" are.

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  18. Just as the US Attorney missed an opportunity to put some really bad people away in its botched "Medical Mafia" investigation, so has it missed the worst of the bad actors in its construction defect prosecution. This case should not have been about homeowners' associations. Rather it should have been about how attorneys, judges, mediators, special masters, and "experts" have colluded for going on two decades to defraud contractors, homeowners, and insurers. Just as Noel Gage was not even a key player in the Medical Mafia's workings, neither was Nancy Quon the dirtiest of the construction defect criminals. Law enforcement completely missed the worst of both cases.

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  19. Who are the worst offenders in the HOA and Medical Mafia stories, just opinions of course...

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  20. None of you know anything about the actual business practices that occurred other than reciting what was in newspaper articles. AC Repair Edmond

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  21. 2:02 am- Thank you for your post. I was wondering who to use for air conditioning repair in Ardmore Oklahoma.

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  22. Was Zobrist sentenced on Apr 15? If so, what?

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  23. Hmm...if it walks and talks like a duck, it's probably a duck. Using your skills to circumvent the law you are supposedly trained to uphold just for personal gain is wrong in so many ways. Hope they make an example of this guy. If he is as "upstanding" as the posters in this thread say, he would have never gotten involved.

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  24. @7:18,

    Or, as is more likely, you don't know what the hell you're talking about.

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  25. The point is that Zobrist clearly did something wrong or else he wouldn't have pleaded guilty to something that could get him 30 years in prison.

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