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Ex-limo company owner pleads guilty in federal racketeering case

Former limousine company owner Charles Horky pleaded guilty Thursday in a multimillion-dollar racketeering conspiracy involving fraud, prostitution and drug trafficking.

Horky, 54, who ran CLS Nevada, which operated on the Strip for two decades, pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to conduct or participate in an enterprise engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity.

U.S. District Judge Robert C. Jones set his sentencing for April 16.

Earlier this year, state transportation authorities revoked Horky’s license to operate his limousine service as a result of the FBI investigation.

Two of his 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. They also are to be sentenced next year.

Horky, who is free on his own recognizance, has agreed to give up $32,872 seized in the investigation and share with other defendants in payment of a $5.2 million forfeiture judgment.

Horky declined comment afterwards, but his attorney, David Chesnoff, said Horky was remorseful for his actions.

“Mr. Horky takes full responsibility,” Chesnoff said. “He’s very sorry he’s disappointed people, but he looks forward to completing his sentence and becoming a productive citizen in Las Vegas again.”

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.

With Horky’s plea, most of the defendants in the long-running FBI investigation have pleaded guilty.

The four-year criminal conspiracy was uncovered by the FBI with the help of 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 company’s 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 of the illicit money they received.

In court Wednesday, Horky acknowledged that prosecutors could prove he required drivers to pay him up to several thousand dollars a week from their illicit earnings.

Among the illegal activities carried out 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 knowing that the account did not contain sufficient funds, the agreement said.

One key target of the investigation, drug dealer Hani Dadis, killed himself weeks before the federal indictments were returned.

Dadis, 51, of Las Vegas, was accused in FBI affidavits of being the main supplier of the club drug Ecstasy, or MDMA, to limousine drivers and their high-rolling clients.

On Sept. 12, 2012, as pressure from FBI agents in the investigation mounted, Dadis put a gun to his head and shot himself to death in a hotel room at the South Point resort, according to court documents.

His death was ruled a suicide and came a week after agents raided an apartment he had rented to stash Ecstasy.

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

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