Ex-limo company operator Charles Horky sentenced to 46 months

Former limousine company owner Charles Horky was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison Wednesday for his role in a multimillion-dollar racketeering conspiracy involving fraud, prostitution and drug trafficking.

Horky, 55, ran CLS Nevada, which operated on the Strip for two decades. He pleaded guilty in December to one felony count of conspiracy to conduct or participate in an enterprise engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity.

His plea capped a lengthy FBI investigation into the criminal organization Horky allowed to flourish for years around his casino-connected limousine company and ended a colorful career in catering to wealthy celebrities and political insiders from coast to coast. Horky’s company served all of the MGM Resorts International casinos and other properties in Las Vegas until his 2012 indictment.

In court papers, Horky and his lawyers, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, said a longtime drug addiction he couldn’t control during tough financial times contributed to his criminal conduct.

U.S. District Judge Robert C. Jones on Wednesday also ordered Horky, who is free on his own recognizance, to serve three years of supervised release after prison. He is to surrender to federal authorities on July 20.

Jones did not fine Horky or order him to pay restitution because he has already paid back $2.8 million to the card company defrauded during the criminal conspiracy.

Horky read a statement apologizing for his actions, saying he stood before the judge with the “greatest amount of shame and humility.”

He acknowledged that he failed “so many people” close to him, and he pledged to turn around his life when he gets out of prison.

Horky insisted that he wasn’t trying to profit personally from the racketeering scheme, but rather was looking to save his company and the jobs of his employees. He also told Jones he deeply regrets letting down the public, which used his limousine service.

Last year, state transportation authorities revoked Horky’s license to operate the company.

Outside the courtroom, Chesnoff said he was pleased with the fair treatment Horky got from both the judge and the government.

Two of Horky’s top aides — Kimberly Flores, 44, the office manager of the company, and Archie Granata, 71, an accountant and financial adviser — each pleaded guilty in July to the same conspiracy charge. Last month they were sentenced to two years in federal prison and three years of probation with eight months of home confinement, respectively.

A federal indictment unsealed in December 2012 charged Horky and eight other defendants with conspiring to participate in a pattern of racketeering activities, including wire fraud, access device fraud, bank fraud and distribution of controlled substances. It also alleged the defendants used interstate commerce to promote, facilitate, and distribute the proceeds of prostitution.

Additional defendants, including some of Horky’s limousine drivers, were charged in four indictments with trafficking in cocaine, methamphetamine and Ecstasy.

Most of the defendants in the long-running FBI investigation previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced.

The four-year criminal conspiracy was uncovered by the FBI with the help of undercover agents and months of court-approved wiretaps that, among other things, provided an explicit look inside the prostitution ring authorities said Horky ran.

According to his plea agreement, Horky admitted he “directly participated in procuring prostitutes” for his customers.

The broad range of crimes were alleged to have taken place from September 2008 through November 2012.

Drivers sold cocaine and methamphetamine and promoted prostitution from their limousines, federal prosecutors alleged.

Horky was accused of directing the criminal activities and requiring drivers to pay him a cut.

Among the illegal activities was a scheme to defraud American Express and American Express card holders of more than $2.8 million through unauthorized charges, Horky’s plea agreement stated.

Horky also participated in a $2.4 million check-kiting scheme that involved drawing checks on the company’s payroll account while knowing the account lacked sufficient funds, the agreement said.

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

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