Former CSN official gets prison term for stealing building materials for luxury home

The former head of construction for the College of Southern Nevada on Wednesday was sentenced to one to four years in prison for stealing building material and equipment from the school to build his million-dollar home near Mount Charleston.

Former CSN Associate Vice President William "Bob" Gilbert was found guilty by a jury in August of 11 felony counts of theft.

Before he was sentenced, Gilbert apologized to the court for the lengthy criminal proceeding, but he maintained he had permission from his bosses to use the material and equipment for college-related projects on his property.

"Everything I did, I did with the knowledge of the president of the college, and that included seven presidents," Gilbert said.

Gilbert also alluded to the case coming about because of disgruntled employees he had fired or disciplined and their connections to local media.

"This was in the press for months before I was ever contacted," Gilbert said.

District Judge Donald Mosley said Gilbert, in committing the theft, acted with a "feeling of entitlement" because he was "the boss" and successful at his job.

"Mr. Gilbert is not an ax murderer. But he did exceed the bounds of the authority he had," Mosley said.

The judge also ordered Gilbert to pay a $10,000 fine and about $6,300 in restitution to the college.

Prosecutor Thom Gover asked for a two- to eight-year sentence and a $20,000 fine in order to send a message to state workers that there are consequences for such crimes.

Gilbert's defense team was asking for probation. Attorneys John Momot and Brent Bryson argued that CSN officials were unable to come up with a specific amount for restitution because nothing was missing.

"There's no victim in this case," Bryson said. "No one could ever say something was stolen from the college."

But Mosley said the victims were the taxpayers. At Wednesday's hearing, the judge also dismissed several motions by the defense for a new trial and one to throw out the guilty verdict.

Afterward, defense attorneys said they would appeal.

"Hopefully (Gilbert) he'll be paroled prior to the appeal," Momot said.

Authorities said Gilbert and three co-defendants took construction-grade material and equipment from the college for Gilbert to build his house in lower Kyle Canyon, and the co-defendants worked on the house when they should have been working on campus. One state investigator described Gilbert's property as "a Home Depot" of building supplies.

Former CSN President Ron Remington testified at the trial that he gave Gilbert permission to do construction work, including welding, at his residence because the college did not have the storage space or facilities for the work on campus. But he said Gilbert was not authorized to make personal use of college materials and equipment.

Days before the trial began, Gilbert's co-defendants -- Thad Skinner, Matthew Goins and George Casal -- pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit theft, a gross misdemeanor, and were sentenced to one year of probation.

Gilbert, a former Marine, refused a pretrial plea offer that included probation and payment of $20,000 in restitution in exchange for a guilty plea to three felony theft counts.

Gilbert had a prior felony conviction before taking his job at CSN. Gilbert pleaded guilty to an embezzlement charge involving $6,200 in 1991 based on accusations that arose while he worked as a construction manager for an Indian tribe in California.

Although it wasn't required by the college at the time, Momot said, Gilbert did disclose his felony conviction to the CSN president when he was hired.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@review or 702-380-1039.