Former BLM official Fredrick Leavitt sent to prison for bribe

A former Bureau of Reclamation official was sentenced Monday to 30 months in federal prison for accepting bribes and tax evasion.

In October 2019, Fredrick Leavitt, the former director of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Region financial management office, which includes the Hoover Dam, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud honest services and conspiracy to defraud. the federal government, according to court records.

“You have committed two of the most serious white-collar crimes,” U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon told Leavitt during his sentencing hearing on Monday. “Public corruption hurts our democracy – people already don’t trust our government and you make it worse when you accept bribes and personally benefit from your position.”

While working for accounting firm LL Bradford & Company between February 2015 and February 2016, Leavitt took kickbacks and kickbacks from Dustin Lewis, a former Henderson CPA, according to court records.

Leavitt then directed a Southern California Public Power Authority audit contract to LL Bradford. The head of this company, Lance Bradford, was charged in August 2019 with 28 counts of aiding and abetting the preparation and submission of false and fraudulent tax returns.

Prosecutors said Lewis and Leavitt also conspired to file fraudulent tax forms in 2013 on behalf of six business entities that claimed $11 million in spurious business deductions, resulting in a tax loss of more than $1.5 million. .

“The evidence was absolutely overwhelming in this case,” prosecutor Patrick Burns said Monday.

Lewis pleaded guilty in January 2020 for his role in the scheme. He is expected to be sentenced in August, according to court records.

The judge also ordered Leavitt on Monday to spend three years on probation after his prison sentence, during which he must perform 100 hours of community service. He will also have to pay approximately $704,000 in restitution.

Nine of Leavitt’s friends and former colleagues approached the judge on Monday, asking for clemency. Defense attorneys also requested a lighter sentence so Leavitt could continue to deal with his wife’s health issues.

“The worst thing you can lose is your reputation, and he lost it,” defense attorney Paul Padda said.

Leavitt cried while talking to the judge for nearly 20 minutes during the hearing. He repeatedly apologized and said he “made a mistake”.

“I changed my guilty plea because I am,” Leavitt said. “When I step back and look at the facts, I am.”

The judge, however, told Leavitt he made “decisions, not mistakes.” Gordon noted that Leavitt used some of the bribery money to buy a luxury car and drive to Germany.

“You were greedy and must have devised schemes to obtain bribes and rob the government through tax evasion,” the judge said.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at [email protected] or 702-383-0240. To follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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