Court papers show legislative extortion probe includes alleged wiretap, false political finance reports

Las Vegas police investigating an alleged Nevada Assembly extortion scheme are looking for evidence that Republican political consultant Tony Dane conducted illegal wiretapping and filed false public documents with the state during the scheme.

The new allegations surfaced this week in a search warrant police obtained to cover computers, digital equipment, cell phones and an automated dialing (robo-calling) system they seized from the conservative activist in Virginia and Utah.

Detectives with the Criminal Intelligence Section of the Metropolitan Police Department disclosed in previous warrants that they were investigating extortion and bribery allegations in the scheme targeting Las Vegas Republican Assemblyman Chris Edwards.

Dane — who has denied wrongdoing and attacked police conduct in the investigation — is regarded as the central figure in the scheme.

Police said last week they do not plan to recommend charges against any state lawmakers in the investigation, which began in December after Edwards reported that he was subjected to pressure to change his vote for Assembly speaker. Republicans installed Las Vegas Assemblyman John Hambrick as speaker in February, following a contentious caucus fight.

In the latest search warrant, filed Monday in District Court, Detective William Schoen said police are looking for evidence showing Dane filed false contribution and expense reports for his CRC Political Action Committee with the Nevada secretary of state’s office as part of the extortion scheme.

State records show Dane reported raising $245,000 last year for CRC PAC. All of the contributions to the PAC, which has a Las Vegas address, were listed as coming from either Dane or his company, Dane & Associates.

Questions about the funding prompted Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske to conduct her own investigation into the PAC, which Dane set up to assist efforts to recall some moderate GOP legislators. Dane has been involved recently in a recall campaign against Edwards, who was elected last November.

Clark County Republicans filed a complaint with Cegavske asking her to investigate whether Dane was illegally funneling conduit contributions to the CRC PAC to aid the recall efforts.

Cegavske’s spokeswoman Catherine Lu said Wednesday the secretary of state has sought the assistance of the attorney general in the investigation. Citing the pending investigation, Lu declined further comment.

In pursuing wiretapping allegations, police want to examine stored “Internet browser and application data” from Dane’s automated calling equipment in Utah that was “used to capture Edwards’ telephone conversations, ”according to the warrant.

That suggests the robo-calling system was set up to record conversations, possibly in violation of state law. In Nevada, both parties must consent to a recorded telephone conversation.

Dane’s system in the past allowed the recipients of the call to either press a button to express an opinion or to be transferred to another number, presumably the targeted candidate or elected official.

Edwards and at least one other Republican assemblyman singled out by Dane have received calls forwarded by the robo-calling equipment.

The search warrant said detectives also seek “audio files” of Edwards “engaged in telephone conversations with others.”

Detectives also want the contacts and call history from cell phones between Dane and others “regarding the bribery and extortion of Edwards and the funding of CRC PAC,” the warrant stated.

And police are attempting to trace the flow of money through financial and banking transactions involving Dane, his companies Dane & Associates and Automated Calling, his wife, Melissa, and the CRC PAC, according to the warrant.

Lately, Dane’s CRC PAC has criticized Las Vegas police and Schoen, the investigation’s lead detective.

The PAC’s website claims police have shown a “total disregard for the rights of citizens” and need to be held accountable. The site alleges Dane and others tied to the investigation are being persecuted for speaking out against unnecessary tax increases, and solicits contributions.

“Your donation will help pay legal costs for those who’s rights have been violated,” the site says.

On Wednesday, Dane’s lawyer David Otto said the latest allegations are part of the effort to “silence” Dane.

Otto said he didn’t believe Dane filed any false documents with the secretary of state.

“He’s not required to report any donations, even though he did, unless there is an election in progress,” Otto said. “At the time of his reports, there was no election in progress.”

Otto has filed court papers seeking the return of the property seized from Dane. He also wants a federal judge to unseal sworn affidavits police submitted before searches in Virginia and Utah.

Schoen’s affidavit submitted in the latest search warrant request was sealed by Chief District Judge David Barker, who approved the warrant.

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

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Las Vegas police are investigating a homicide and kidnapping in the 3300 block of Robin Nest Court, near Desert Inn Road and Hulalapai Way. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Homeless being targeted by unknown shooter
Capt. Robert Plummer of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department briefs the media on the recent shootings of four homeless men.
Douglas Haig talks to reporters
Douglas Haig, identified as a person of interest in documents related to the Las Vegas shooting, spoke to reporters Tuesday evening outside his home in Mesa, Arizona. (Madison Miller/Las Vegas Review-Journal Correspondent)
Suspected Aria counterfeiter hurt jumping off Harmon overpass
A man who allegedly tried to use a counterfeit bill at the Aria was hospitalized after he jumped off an overpass trying to escape police. About 2 a.m. Tuesday, security at the Aria flagged down police. When police tried to talk to him, the man fled and led police on a foot chase, according to Lt. David Gordon. The chase ended at the Harmon Avenue overpass above Interstate 15, when the man jumped off the side and landed in the rocky landscaping below. The man was taken to the hospital for evaluation.
Rancho Discount Mall shooting
Las Vegas police are investigating a deadly shooting Monday morning in central Las Vegas. A man was found dead after 3 a.m. outside the Rancho Discount Mall at 2901 W. Washington Ave. The man had been shot once. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police have blocked off the parking lot in front of the store while detectives investigate. At 5 a.m., the man’s body was still on scene, laying on the walkway near a shopping cart and a pile of blankets.
Deadly shooting on Calimesa Street
Las Vegas police are investigating a fatal shooting Monday morning on the 4200 block of Calimesa Street. An adult man was found in front of a house with multiple gunshot wounds. He was taken to a hospital where he died, according to Metropolitan Police Lt. David Gordon. Homicide detectives also are investigating another deadly shooting that occurred a short time after the Calimesa Street shooting. A person was killed at 2901 W. Washington Ave.
Man shoots wife and 15-year-old stepdaughter in Las Vegas
Las Vegas teen accused of sexual deviancy in elementary school
A Las Vegas teen accused of raping 4 of his classmates had been disciplined for sexual deviancy in elementary school Maysen Melton was suspended from Bracken Elementary for allegedly sexually harassing classmates He was later disciplined for sexual deviancy at three different middle schools Melton now faces 23 felony counts for allegedly raping 4 of his classmates at Shadow Ridge High School Melton may face additional charges after another victim came forward, alleging Melton sexually abused her in October In one alleged incident, Melton pushed a girl to the floor before raping her He allegedly responded by saying, "No means yes"' and "I know you’ll like it in the end." District Judge Jennifer Togliatti pointed to an "astronomical probability of conviction" and raised Melton's bail from $200,000 to $500,000
Deadly shooting in south Las Vegas
Las Vegas police are investigating a Friday shooting that left a woman in the south valley dead. Police believe her husband shot and killed her at a house on Giles Street. The shooter as of 1:30 a.m. remained on the loose and was considered armed and dangerous. A police helicopter circled the sky looking for the suspect. Neighbors could be seen peeking through window curtains as police secured the neighborhood and warned people to stay inside.
Judge Doug Herndon confronts Bryan Clay in Las Vegas
Bryan Clay was sentenced to life in prison without parole in December for the rape and murder of a mother and her 10-year-old daughter. On Thursday, he was in court again to be sentenced for other charges, including robbery, kidnapping and sexual assault of a minor under 14 . Prosecutors told Judge Doug Herndon Thursday that Clay can be heard on his jail phone conversations saying he “tricked jurors, that he’ll be back soon, that he’ll in fact get his appeal more quickly.” Judge Doug Herndon told him the case has haunted him since “opening statements.” Briana Erickson/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas arrest warrant details Floyd Mayweather Sr. assault accusation
Las Vegas police said Floyd Mayweather Sr. dragged a woman by the leg from the backseat of his car and punched her after a boxing match on the Strip, according to court documents obtained Thursday. The father of boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. battered her hours after the Sept. 16 fight at T-Mobile Arena between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, the elder Mayweather’s arrest warrant said. The woman and her husband had attended the fight with Mayweather Sr. and his girlfriend, the Metropolitan Police Department wrote in his arrest warrant. Police said Mayweather Sr. pulled her from the car and battered her. He then drove off, leaving the woman and her husband in a parking lot. A warrant for his arrest was issued Jan. 16. Mayweather Sr. was in Clark County Detention Center Wednesday, but has since posted bond.
Las Vegas teen accused of raping classmates appears in court
A Las Vegas teen accused of raping 4 of his Shadow Ridge classmates appeared in court Thursday Maysen Melton faces 23 felony counts, including charges of sexual assault District Judge Jennifer Togliatti pointed to an "astronomical probability of conviction" and raised Melton's bail Judge Togliatti also said she worried that someone walking by Melton's house could be at risk Melton's bail was raised from $200,000 to $500,000
Las Vegas police investigate kidnapping, carjacking and robbery at Best Buy
Shortly before 6 a.m., a man was approached by two men in the parking lot of a Best Buy at 6950 Arroyo Crossing, near the 215 Beltway and South Rainbow Boulevard. Police said at least one of the two suspects was armed with a handgun. The suspects forced the man into his car and made him drive to an ATM, where he withdrew an unknown amount of money for the suspects, Metropolitan Police Department Lt. David Gordon said. The two men then instructed the victim to drive to a convenience store at 4030 W. Charleston Blvd., where they told him to get out of his vehicle. Police said the suspects fled north on Hinson Street in the man’s car.
Life
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
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