Vilisia Coleman, the former office manager of an embattled process serving company, was a “pawn” in a courthouse scheme to file false affidavits, her lawyer told a district judge on Wednesday.
Attorney Dan Winder said the company’s owner, Maurice Carroll, had “procedures in place” to commit criminal wrongdoing long before Coleman went to work for the company.
Winder would not elaborate, but he told District Judge Elissa Cadish that his client, whom he described as an “avid churchgoer,” is not “as culpable as the allegations make her out to be. This is a defensible case.”
Carroll’s lawyer, Craig Mueller, declined to comment on Winder’s allegations.
Coleman, a 46-year-old convicted felon, pleaded not guilty to a nine-count felony indictment, charging her with perjury and filing false court documents and a false notary public application with the state.
Cadish reduced her bail from $50,000 to $35,000, despite objections from Chief Deputy District Attorney Mike Staudaher, who cited her criminal history. An Oct. 4 trial was set.
The charges are tied to what authorities call a sweeping scheme by Carroll’s unlicensed company, On Scene Mediations, to file false affidavits that allowed payday loan and debt collection companies to get Justice Court default judgments.
Las Vegas Justice Court officials plan to review some 20,000 default cases that might have links to On Scene Mediations in an effort to determine whether the rights of the defendants were violated. Las Vegas Police believe the company has been operating without a license since 2003.
Carroll, a 41-year-old former Las Vegas police officer, faces a separate 35-count indictment charging him with perjury and filing false court documents. In an interview with detectives earlier this year, Carroll blamed his troubles on Coleman, who has since left the company.
Authorities allege in both criminal cases that Carroll and Coleman lied in the notarized affidavits when swearing they had served defendants with copies of court papers on behalf of debt collection agency Richland Holdings. The company obtained default judgments after the defendants failed to respond to the lawsuits.
Contact Jeff German at jgerman@review
journal.com or 702-380-8135 or read more courts coverage at lvlegalnews.com.