A former Henderson woman pleaded guilty Tuesday in a $1.5 million real estate scheme that involved using $232,000 of the ill-gotten gains to pay restitution in a state criminal theft case.
Mary Musso, 62, who now lives in New York, pleaded guilty to one federal wire fraud count stemming from the scheme, which is alleged to have occurred in August 2010. She also pleaded guilty to one count of making false claims to the Internal Revenue Service on her 2009 tax return.
Musso, who is free on her own recognizance, agreed to pay $1,350,000 in restitution to the chief victim of the scheme, a Las Vegas businesswoman, and other victims. She also agreed to pay the IRS $177,676.
She is to be sentenced June 3 before U.S. District Judge James Mahan.
Her lawyer, Jess Marchese, said later that Musso is looking to “move on with her life.”
The $232,000 was funneled through the client trust account of longtime attorney Mace Yampolsky, who defended Musso in a 2005 criminal case in Clark County District Court, according to her July 2012 indictment.
Yampolsky, who no longer represents Musso, was unaware of the scheme and was not accused of wrongdoing.
In August 2010, Musso fraudulently obtained $1,350,000 in loans using high-end condominiums as collateral without the knowledge of their owner, businesswoman Joan Morris, Musso’s plea agreement states.
Musso fabricated emails and forged deeds of trust and promissory notes in the scam, according to the plea agreement.
In August 2010, she had a title company wire roughly $875,000 to Yampolsky’s trust account, then used $232,000 from the account to pay restitution in the District Court criminal case, prosecutors alleged.
A county grand jury had indicted Musso in January 2005 on felony charges of forging documents and stealing more than $700,000 from a local clinic.
She pleaded guilty to two felony theft charges, and in November 2006 former District Judge Donald Mosley gave her a suspended prison sentence.
Mosley also placed her on five years of probation and ordered her to pay $450,000 in restitution.
In January 2010, Yampolsky told Mosley in court that Musso was “diligently” trying to pay off the remaining restitution, according to the court minutes. Yampolsky said Musso was in real estate and had “some deals working.”
By September 2010, there was $232,000 left to pay. Yampolsky informed District Judge Linda Bell that he had taken care of that with a check from his trust account, the minutes show.
As a result of negotiations with prosecutors, the felony charges against Musso were dropped, and she was allowed to plead guilty to a gross misdemeanor theft count. Bell then sentenced her to credit for time served.
Musso’s original federal indictment alleged that while acting as a real estate agent in 2007, she falsely obtained another $1,650,000 in loans under the guise of making “tenant improvements” at two commercial properties. It is alleged that she created phony emails claiming to represent Morris, who was leasing the properties.
Wire fraud charges against Musso in that scheme will be dismissed as part of her plea deal.
Contact Jeff German at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-8135. Follow @JGermanRJ on Twitter.