In 2007, authorities arrested more than 30 people in an Arizona-based investigation that focused on a multimillion-dollar gambling operation linked to an offshore betting Web site in Costa Rica. Most of those arrested were from the Phoenix-area, but a few Las Vegas Valley residents were also ensnared in the probe.
Metro confiscated money and property during the April 2007 raids here — and then allowed Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies to spirit away the loot to Phoenix without first obtaining the authorization of any court. Leavitt ruled the raids and the removal of the property to another state illegal and the following September ordered the cash and goods to be returned.
Through a series of legal maneuvers that ultimately involved the Nevada Supreme Court, attorneys for the police have managed to prevent Leavitt from holding a hearing on whether to punish Metro.
The cops also had not returned any of the property — until this week.
On Wednesday, the Arizona sheriff’s deputies, with some prodding from Metro and its attorneys, gave back $252,000 in cash and a valuable coin collection seized from 45-year-old Las Vegan Brandt England, his attorney, David Chesnoff, said.
Chesnoff also said criminal charges have been dismissed against Brandt in Arizona.
But two other local targets of the Arizona investigation, 63-year-old Michael V. Buono Sr. and his son, Michael A. Buono, have yet to see a horde of jewelry and several thousand dollars that police took from them. Criminal charges have been dismissed against them, as well, in Arizona. The Buonos’ attorney, John Momot, however, isn’t willing to let Metro off the hook. He wants Leavitt to go through with the contempt hearing slated for Jan. 30.
“I’m not making any deals,” he says. “I want financial compensation for my clients for what they had to go through the past year and a half.”