Bondsman accused of threatening life of investigator

Charles McChesney, the bad boy bail bondsman facing a slew of state and federal charges, has another black mark on his growing criminal resume.

In court papers earlier this month, federal prosecutors alleged McChesney from behind bars threatened the life of a state insurance investigator who put together the criminal case against him in a scheme to rob and extort a female client.

McChesney, 48, and another bail bondsman are alleged to have broken down the door of the woman’s home in January 2011 and held her and her three children at gunpoint while they rummaged through the home and took her personal property.

McChesney is facing charges of robbery, assault and extortion, all with a deadly weapon, and other charges, including burglary and home invasion.

In a phone call recorded at the federal detention center in Pahrump, McChesney was overheard saying he wanted to “drive a stake into … the heart” of the investigator, Justice Department lawyer Thomas Hall alleged in court papers.

“While defendant McChesney may argue that this was mere rhetoric, the (Nevada) Division of Insurance — which was intimately familiar with defendant McChesney’s conduct and potential for violence through its investigation — was concerned enough that special protective measures were taken to assure the safety of the investigator,” Hall wrote.

The identity of the investigator was not disclosed, and a spokeswoman for the Nevada attorney general’s office declined to comment Monday on whether a criminal investigation was being conducted into the alleged threat.

Federal prosecutors are citing McChesney’s jailhouse words in their opposition to renewed defense efforts seeking his release.

Hall is involved in the federal prosecution of McChesney tied to the long-running investigation into fraud and corruption at Las Vegas Valley homeowners associations. The veteran bail enforcement officer is alleged to have been part of the “muscle” in the massive scheme to take over 11 associations between 2003 and 2009.

Four targets of the investigation have died under unusual circumstances. Three of the deaths were ruled suicides.

The threatening phone conversation is the latest in a series of alleged acts of wrongdoing piling up against McChesney, as he sits behind bars waiting to be tried in the state and federal criminal cases.

In federal court in June, McChesney not only found himself accused of strong-arming his clients, but also beating his wife, duping his lawyer and lying to the judge who once released him from the detention center.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen ordered McChesney to remain in federal custody while he faces a March 3 trial on federal conspiracy and fraud charges in the HOA takeover scheme.

Charles La Bella, a deputy chief in the Justice Department’s Fraud Section in Washington, told Leen in June that McChesney has an “anger issue” that makes him a “danger to the community.”

FBI Agent Mike Elliott, the lead investigator in the long-running HOA investigation, testified that McChesney earlier this year choked and battered her a couple of times and threatened to stuff her in the trunk of a car he planned to set on fire.

Michelle McChesney had filed previous domestic violence complaints against her husband, but the charges were dismissed because she was afraid to cooperate with prosecutors, Elliott testified.

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135. Follow @JGermanRJ on Twitter.