- Associated Press - Thursday, December 14, 2017

RENO, Nev. (AP) - A longtime former official for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Nevada has been indicted on federal fraud charges for his alleged role in a bribery scheme involving a government contract at the Hoover Dam.

The grand jury indictment handed up Wednesday in federal court in Las Vegas accuses 46-year-old Fredrick Leavitt of Henderson of accepting a $200,000 bribe to help steer a contract to a local accounting and tax firm in 2015.

A certified public accountant at the firm, 43-year-old Dustin Lewis of Henderson, also was named in the indictment. Both men face charges related to fraud conspiracy and bribing a public official, U.S. Attorney Steve Myhre said.

Leavitt worked 20 years for the Bureau of Reclamation, most recently as director of the financial management office for its Lower Colorado Region, which includes the dam east of Las Vegas on the Nevada-Arizona line.

Court records didn’t list a lawyer for either. Their initial court appearance is scheduled Dec. 21 in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas.

Federal investigators announced in February 2016 they had launched a public corruption probe after the FBI raided the bureau’s regional office in Boulder City and searched Leavitt’s home in Henderson. The Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General and Las Vega police’s criminal intelligence section assisted in the investigation.

The indictment alleges that Leavitt provided Lewis with inside information in exchange for kickbacks connected to Lewis‘ firm securing a contract to conduct an audit of the California Public Power Authority’s operations at the dam. The indictment says the two colluded to defraud the government and that Lewis ultimately transferred more than $200,000 to Leavitt.

Among other things, Leavitt provided Lewis a copy of the audit selection committee’s “score sheet” used in selecting the winning bid for the audit contract, the indictment said.

The bureau is the keeper of the levers that operate Hoover Dam and other Colorado River facilities providing drinking water and hydropower to about 40 million residents, farms, tribes and businesses in seven states in the Southwest.

According to the indictment, federal prosecutors are seeking criminal forfeiture totaling $201,250 from Leavitt, including a 2016 Mercedes Benz sports car. They’re seeking $704,002 from Lewis.

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