A Clark County family court judge accused of using his position as part of a $3 million investment fraud scheme surrendered to authorities Thursday.
According to the office of United States Attorney Daniel G. Bogden, District Judge Steven Jones, 54, was among six people charged with multiple counts, including mail, wire and securities fraud, as well as money laundering.
Jones pleaded not guilty in federal court on Thursday and was released from custody. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2013.
Two Henderson residents – 55-year-old Thomas Cecrle, Jr., and 57-year-old Terry Wolfe – and Las Vegas resident Ashlee Martin, 38, were named in the indictment. Washington state resident Constance Fenton and Oregon resident Mark Hansen were also indicted.
According to the indictment, the suspects allegedly reached out to people and convinced them to loan money under the guise of a story involving Cecrle. The indictment said the suspects would say Cecrle had special interests to land and water rights in Nevada and Arizona, and they required a loan to secure the rights.
Cecrle had no such rights, the indictment alleges.
In return, according to the U.S. Attorney's office, the suspects promised to pay back the lenders at a high rate of return.
According to the indictment, when the lenders became suspicious of the operation, Jones was employed to vouch for Cecrle. The indictment said Jones would use his office to meet with the victims, delaying or preventing any legal action against Cecrle.
The indictment said Jones was given a portion of the money collected in the scheme, which stretched from 2002 to 2012.
The U.S. Attorney's office said Cecrle, Wolfe, Martin and another suspect are in custody.
Jones turned himself into the U.S. Marshals Service on Thursday.
Stay tuned to FOX5 for the latest on this developing story.
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