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FBI Investigates Ties Between Convicted Former Las Vegas Nightclub Operator and Judge Who Gave Him Probation

Recently, U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson sentenced former Las Vegas nightclub operator Steve Davidovici to three years’ probation and home confinement.

Now the FBI has launched an investigation to answer two questions:

1. The depth of the relationship, if any, between Davidovici and Judge Dawson’s son Brian?, and 2. Did this relationship influence Judge Dawson’s sentencing of Davidovci, which many have called “lenient” and prosecutors expressed strong objections.

After a four-year investigation by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), who had received information that Pure employees were not paying income tax on or reporting their total tip income, the IRS uncovered a $7 million tip scam which included Pure executives, VIP hosts, and doormen. Every night, VIP hosts and doormen would pool their tips, and at the end of the week everyone, including Davidovici and club executives, would get a share of the tips. For 2006 and 2006, Davidovici failed to report over $400 thousand in tip income. In 2006 he filed a false federal income tax return. Avoiding a trial, Davidovici pled guilty.

Federal prosecutors sought an 18-month prison sentence for Davidovici because he lied and actively concealed facts from IRS auditors, helped subordinates to do the same, misled licensing authorities, and made deceptive submissions to the court. Additionally, Davidovici intimidated tip scam whistleblowers by threatening to make it impossible for them to work on the Las Vegas Strip again, then stealing data from their personnel files to pull off this vendetta.

However, after Davidovici pled guilty, Judge Dawson imposed a sentence of probation and eight months of home confinement so Davidovici could get the care he needed for his eye condition, acute optic neuropathy, which threatens to leave him legally blind.

FBI agents in the Las Vegas public corruption squad have questioned Davidovici’s current and former employees. Brian Dawson worked as a bartender Gallery Nightclub at Planet Hollywood, where Davidovici was a consultant. Brian Dawson also had a work card as a bartender at Chateau Nightclub & Gardens at Paris Las Vegas, which Davidovici co-owned. Judge Dawson has insisted he was not aware of his son’s employment ties.

The Las Vegas law office of Lagomarsino Law did not represent anyone involved in any cases that may be referenced above. This commentary is for educational purposes. If you would like to be represented by an attorney in our Las Vegas office, contact our office for a free confidential case review and receive a response within 24 hours. Call Toll Free 866-414-0400.