Federal agents raid a local limo service and according to an indictment. Workers are accused of racketeering. The allegations include drug trafficking and prostitution. News 3's Sandra Gonzalez has more information.
LAS VEGAS – Federal authorities this morning arrested nine persons, including the owner and eight employees or associates of a prominent limousine service in Las Vegas, after their indictment on federal racketeering charges related to the distribution of controlled substances, the facilitation of illegal prostitution, and the commission of credit card and bank fraud crimes, announced Daniel G. Bogden, U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada.
“Persons who use legitimate businesses to shield their criminal activities will get the attention of law enforcement,” Bogden said in a statement. “In addition to promoting prostitution and selling drugs, these defendants are accused of defrauding customers, many of whom were undoubtedly tourists to Las Vegas. The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office, along with our federal and state law enforcement partners, will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute persons who participate in such criminal enterprises.”
“The arrests today disrupted a major racketeering enterprise that has negatively impacted the citizens, safety, and image of Las Vegas,” said Kevin Favreau, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI for Nevada. “The success of this long term investigation was due to the efforts of the Las Vegas Safe Streets Task Force, comprised of the FBI and LVMPD.”
Arrested were Charles Horky, 52, the primary owner of CLS Transportation; Kimberly Flores, 42, the manager of CLS; Archie Granata, 69, a financial advisor for CLS; Dawit Moszagi, 47, Clarence Adams, 38, James Reda, 38, Mikhail Maleev, 48, limousine drivers for CLS; and Solomon Zemedhun, 39, and Olive Toli, 48, associates of the enterprise who allegedly supplied and aided in the distribution of controlled substances.
They are charged with conspiring to participate in an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activities including wire fraud, access device fraud, bank fraud, distribution of controlled substances, and the use of facilities of interstate commerce to promote, facilitate, and distribute the proceeds of prostitution. They face sentences of up to life in prison and fines of up to twice the gross profits or proceeds from their criminal activity. A complete list of the defendants and the charges they face is contained at the end of this release.
According to the indictment that was returned by the grand jury on Nov. 27, 2012, and unsealed this morning, CLS Transportation operates limousines in and around Las Vegas.
Beginning no later than September 2008 and continuing through November 2012, the defendants are accused of using the limousine service to conduct and facilitate a broad range of criminal activities, including selling controlled substances, facilitating illegal prostitution, credit card fraud, bank fraud and check-kiting.
Horkey, the owner of CLS, allegedly encouraged and directed the criminal activity, and required drivers to pay him a cut of the money they were receiving from the criminal activities.
In addition to the distribution of drugs and the facilitation of prostitution, CLS offered limousines for hire to its customers whom often paid for services with credit cards.
The defendants allegedly devised and executed a scheme to defraud American Express and American Express card holders of more than $2.8 million through fraudulent and unauthorized charges. Many of the card holders disputed the charges, and American Express notified CLS of the fraudulent transactions and executed charge-backs. American Express eventually cancelled the CLS Transportation account. Horky and Granata allegedly perpetuated the fraudulent scheme by fraudulently opening successive additional American Express merchant accounts under false names, aliases and nominees.
Horky, Flores and Granata also devised a check-kiting scheme in which they drew checks on CLS Transportation’s payroll account knowing that the account did not contain sufficient funds. Horky, Flores, and Granata knowingly issued themselves and their associates thousands of checks on the account without sufficient funds to honor the checks.
The indictment alleges that in 2010 alone, the conspirators issued and cashed more than 1,500 checks and obtained more than $2.4 million through the fraudulent check-kiting scheme.
-- From news release