Monday, May 7, 2012

Las Vegas real estate scam goes bust

As Las Vegas’s housing supply exploded, so did
competition among lawyers and contractors to
represent new homeowner associations in
construction-defect lawsuits. It was in this
environment that a shadowy
outfit cooked up a brazen scheme.
Before the market crashed and home prices tumbled, before federal investigators showed up and hauled away the community records, before her property managers pled guilty for conspiring to rig neighborhood elections, and before her real estate lawyer allegedly tried to commit suicide by overdosing on drugs and setting fire to her home, Wanda Murray thought that buying a condominium in Las Vegas was a pretty good idea. 

At first glance, Murray doesn’t look much like the type of person who would arrive in Las Vegas only to get tangled up in and eventually help unravel a complex criminal conspiracy. At 65, she stares out at the world through thick glasses. She is legally blind. Her eyes never quite seem to focus on any one thing. On a recent Friday morning, she sits at her dining room table wearing a zip-up leopard-print sweatshirt and recounts how she helped to foil a group of lawyers and contractors running amok in Sin City. “They didn’t think there would be four old ladies who wouldn’t put up with their stuff,” says Murray. “They really pissed me off.”   READ MORE

Bloomberg Businessweek: California, Nevada join forces in mortgage fraud probes

Bloomberg Businessweek: Real estate agent gets 20 months for mortgage scam 

Bloomberg Businessweek: Las Vegas sees Japan casinos as Diet seeks quake relief

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