Monday, January 18, 2021

Former Henderson CPA pleads guilty to $1.5 million government contract fraud

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A former Henderson CPA pleaded guilty Tuesday for his role in a bribery scheme involving a government contract.

Dustin Lewis, 45, admitted to participating in the scheme and to committing $1.5 million in tax fraud, Nevada U.S. Attorney Nicholas Trutanich said in a news release.

Court records show that while working for accounting firm L.L. Bradford & Company between February 2015 and February 2016, Lewis bribed and provided kickbacks to a director of the financial management office for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Region, which includes Hoover Dam.

The director, Fredrick Leavitt, then steered a Southern California Public Power Authority audit contract to L.L. Bradford. The head of that firm, Lance Bradford, was indicted in August on 28 counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of false and fraudulent tax returns from 2012 to 2014.

As part of the conspiracy, Lewis paid more than $150,000 in bribes to Leavitt, prosecutors said. Lewis and Leavitt agreed to conceal the bribe payment from others.

In a separate scheme, Lewis and Leavitt conspired to file fraudulent tax forms for 2013 on behalf of six business entities that claimed $11 million in phony business deductions. This caused a tax loss of more than $1.5 million.

Sentencing for Lewis is set for April 30. Leavitt previously pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing on Feb. 4.

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