Embattled construction defects attorney Nancy Quon was arrested Wednesday on felony charges tied to a suspected suicide scheme that involved setting fire to her Las Vegas home last October.
Las Vegas police took Quon into custody about 2:20 p.m. at a home in Henderson after her county grand jury indictment earlier in the day. She was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on $400,000 bail about an hour later under the name Nancy Hellen.
A bail hearing was set for 8:30 a.m. today before District Judge Michelle Leavitt, who has been assigned the case.
The indictment, the second against Quon in four months, comes as federal authorities are bearing down on a massive investigation into fraud and corruption at Las Vegas homeowners associations that also has targeted Quon. Justice Department prosecutors from Washington have been working out plea deals with key players aimed at obtaining indictments against Quon and other top targets.
In all, Quon faces five felony charges in Wednesday's indictment -- including first-degree arson, conspiracy to commit arson and insurance fraud stemming from the Oct. 28 fire, which caused $250,000 to $300,000 in damages to her Rhodes Ranch home.
Prosecutors allege Quon, 51, set the fire in a botched suicide attempt and participated in another suicide plot that involved obtaining illegal drugs, all in an effort to escape the pressure of the federal HOA investigation.
The nine-count indictment also charged Quon's live-in boyfriend, former Las Vegas police officer William Ronald Webb, in the arson conspiracy.
Webb, 43, is behind bars on $400,000 bail on drug and murder conspiracy charges stemming from an effort to buy 29.2 grams of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, a club drug known as GHB, from undercover detectives several days after the fire. Both Webb and Quon were indicted in the drug deal in April. Prosecutors allege Quon bankrolled the deal and was to take the GHB in a plot to kill herself with the drug the couple thought was undetectable.
The drug charges against the couple and the murder conspiracy charges against Webb are included in the new, expanded indictment, which means the April criminal case probably will be dismissed. Webb faces new charges of conspiracy to commit arson and insurance fraud.
Quon has denied setting the fire and trying to kill herself.
Her lawyer, Thomas Pitaro, declined to comment late Wednesday.
The indictment alleges that Quon "wilfully, unlawfully, maliciously and feloniously" set fire to the Las Vegas home sometime between Oct. 27 and Oct. 28.
Then, with Webb's help, Quon defrauded State Farm Insurance into paying for temporary housing for the couple and structural repairs to the home knowing that the fire was not caused by accident, the indictment alleges.
The previous grand jury refused to indict Quon and Webb in the fire, but this time prosecutors presented 14 more witnesses and uncovered new information.
Over the past six weeks, prosecutors called a total of 44 witnesses, including family members of both Quon and Webb.
Two days before the fire, Quon was described as "detached and despondent" when she provided handwriting samples to local and federal investigators probing the homeowners associations.
Quon, who acknowledged taking sleeping pills and a high-alcohol energy drink before the fire, was rescued from the smoke-filled home by Webb's older brother, Daniel, who found her unconscious on a downstairs sofa. Authorities said William Webb had arranged to be out of town during the fire.
Paramedics who revived Quon testified that they think she suffered a "narcotic overdose." And fire and investigators testified that their suspicions were raised because the fire started in two separate places in Quon's upstairs master bedroom.
Prosecutors suspect the drug suicide plot unfolded days before the fire when Webb asked his friend Robert Justice, 45, a two-time convicted felon, to help get him the GHB. Justice broached the subject with one of his friends, who turned out to be an undercover detective.
Police said they manufactured the GHB in the department's lab and sold it to Justice and Webb.
Justice ended up pleading guilty and testifying against Webb and Quon.
Webb was arrested Nov. 9 after the drugs were delivered outside the Green Valley Ranch Resort, where the couple were staying temporarily.
Police said in November that Quon's indictment in the federal HOA investigation was "imminent."
But delays occurred after the Justice Department lawyers from Washington took control of the investigation from the Nevada U. S. attorney's office.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in March that prosecutors in the U.S. attorney's office had come under criminal investigation, suspected of leaking sensitive information about the HOA probe to Quon.
Federal authorities have been mum on the status of that investigation.
Contact Jeff German at email@example.com or 702-380-8135.