Police and prosecutors are launching a grand jury investigation into allegations that a former courthouse counseling service provided phony certificates stating prostitutes and other misdemeanor offenders had completed its programs.
Steven Brox, the former owner of the counseling service, United States Justice Associates, and criminal defense lawyer Brian Bloomfield were told in letters from the district attorney’s office this week that they were targets of the investigation, courthouse sources confirmed.
The investigation is focusing on felony charges of conspiracy, forgery and filing false public documents, the sources said. The crimes are alleged to have occurred between November 2007 and May 2010.
Certificates were obtained for prostitutes represented by Bloomfield, and some of the certificates wound up in the public court files of the defendants, the sources said.
Both Brox and Bloomfield have been told that they can testify before the grand jury or provide evidence to the panel in their favor on Dec. 20.
The case led to the abrupt resignation last month of Chief Deputy District Attorney Roy Nelson, who is friends with Bloomfield, sources said.
Nelson, a 10-year veteran in the prosecutor’s office, is not a target of the criminal investigation.
But text messages found on a computer Las Vegas police seized from Bloomfield last year uncovered possible unethical conduct on Nelson’s part, the sources said.
Nelson, who resigned Nov. 10 under the threat of being fired, declined comment on Friday.
District Attorney David Roger also declined comment on both Nelson’s resignation and the grand jury investigation targeting Brox and Bloomfield.
In his heyday, the 46-year-old Brox made friends with many people at the Regional Justice Center, especially at Las Vegas Justice Court, where his counseling services primarily were offered.
United States Justice Associates was one of several companies that offered programs for alcohol and drug abuse, AIDS awareness, anger management and petty larceny to those charged with misdemeanors. At sentencing, judges often order defendants to attend such programs to steer them out of the justice system and keep them from returning.
Justice Court officials said there is no real vetting process for selecting counseling companies, other than that they have to be certified in their profession.
Generally, only a small group of companies offer the services, and choosing which one to use in each misdemeanor case is up to the discretion of the individual justices of the peace, officials said.
Brox’s company went out of business more than two years ago after detectives with the Criminal Intelligence Section of the Metropolitan Police Department began investigating its activities.
In a May 2010 raid, detectives seized a laptop computer from Bloomfield’s home, with a computer tower, disks, CDs and case files from his law office.
Lt. Dave Logue, who runs the Criminal Intelligence Section, declined to discuss the investigation Friday.
But he confirmed, “We are continuing to move forward with the criminal case.”
Bloomfield could not be reached for comment, and his lawyer, William Terry, did not return phone calls.
Brox’s attorney, Robert Draskovich, predicted Brox would be vindicated.
“Throughout the two-year investigation, Steven Brox has maintained his innocence, Draskovich said.
“He is confident that when this case is finally brought out behind closed doors and sees the light of day, he’ll be exonerated from these false allegations.”
Earlier this year, a district judge dismissed an attempted sexual assault case against Brox stemming from a December 2008 encounter with his teenage niece.
The niece, who was 15 at the time of the incident, had recanted her testimony.
She said she made up the allegations to gain sympathy from her boyfriend to keep him from breaking up with her.
Contact Jeff German at email@example.com or 702-380-8135.