A Las Vegas woman pleaded guilty on September 23, 2011 for her role in a scheme to fraudulently gain control of condominium homeowners’ associations (HOA) in the Las Vegas area so that the HOAs would direct business to a certain law firm and construction company, according to a press release from the prosecutors.
Deborah Genato, 41, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Lloyd D. George in the District of Nevada to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Genato is the fourth person to plead guilty in connection with the scheme to defraud HOAs in the Las Vegas area. According to the plea agreement, Genato was the property manager for three condominium complexes, Vistana, Park Avenue and Chateau Nouveau. Genato admitted that for two years beginning in February 2007, she participated in a scheme to control various HOA boards of directors so that the HOA boards would award the handling of construction-related lawsuits and remedial construction contracts to a law firm and construction company selected by Genato’s co-conspirators. Co-conspirators also hired private investigators to find “dirt” on the bona fide candidates in order to create smear campaigns. Genato admitted that she used her position as property manager at Vistana, Park Avenue and Chateau Nouveau to provide mailing lists, labels and other voting materials to create fake election ballots. Genato also admitted that she allowed co-conspirators to gain access to the election ballots that had been mailed into the property management company by the bona fide homeowners prior to the election date. Genato admitted that she and her co-conspirators were paid or received things of value for their assistance in purchasing the properties, obtaining HOA membership status, rigging elections, using their positions to manipulate the HOA’s business and to further the goals of the conspiracy and enrich the co-conspirators at the expense of the HOA and the bona fide homeowners. The conspiracy violated the fiduciary owed to the condominium owners by the HOA manager.