Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson has pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud involving the misuse of $249,900 in campaign contributions for personal expenses.
U.S. Attorney for Nevada Nick Trutanich said those expenses include opening his Las Vegas night club as well as personal credit card payments.
Atkinson, 49, admitted spending $100,000 in contributions on his personal credit cards, $75,000 toward opening and operating his Las Vegas night club and $20,000 to lease a Jaguar SUV among others.
Atkinson has agreed to pay $249,900 in restitution.
After the charges were filed, Atkinson resigned his position as majority leader as well as his Senate seat representing North Las Vegas.
“In the Silver State, the vast majority of public officials serve with integrity,” said Trutanich. “They serve others, not their own self-interests. And when federal law enforcement learns of potential violation of that trust, justice requires us to do our level best to conduct a fair and dispassionate inquiry into the facts.”
FBI Special Agents Tara Sullivan and Aaron Rouse investigated the case along with the Internal Revenue Service. They said public corruption erodes the trust and confidence the public has for elected officials.
In pleading guilty, Atkinson admitted that between January 2010 and December 2017, he devised a scheme to mislead contributors to his campaign, falsely representing that he would use the donations for lawful campaign purposes.
Atkinson remains free pending sentencing set for July 11. He could receive up to 20 years in federal prison.