Vegas suspect in alleged FBI document scam held without bail
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) – A New York federal judge ordered Las Vegas businessman Robert Potter held without bail because of his alleged involvement in a scheme to sell FBI files to crime figures.
Potter, 53, is also a defendant in a securities fraud scam along with associates of the Genovese organized crime family in New York. At the time of his arrest on the current charges, he was out of jail on $250,000 bail.
Last week, Potter was one of eight people, including an FBI employee, named in a federal complaint alleging that he paid thousands of dollars for secret FBI documents apparently to assist him in the fraud case against him.
The federal complaint alleges a scheme in which top secret information from an FBI database was provided to targets of criminal investigations and defense attorneys.
At a hearing Monday in federal court, U.S. Prosecutor Stephen King asked the judge to revoke Potter’s bail, arguing that since his arrest in 1999 he had tried to obtain stolen information from the FBI computer system.
King said, ”The defendant has demonstrated through his conduct that he will not conform his behavior to required legal strictures.”
U.S. Magistrate William Wall then revoked Potter’s bail, citing his potential as a flight risk and the fact that he was charged with obstruction of justice in the federal complaint filed last week.
Potter pleaded innocent, and his attorney, Sean Flanagan, said they would appeal the decision to revoke his bail.
Two other defendants in the FBI case also were arraigned Monday. Mary Ellen Weeks, 43, a Las Vegas court clerk, and Maria Emeterio, 34, an investigator with the missing-persons bureau of the Nevada state attorney general’s office, entered innocent pleas. They were released on $50,000 bail and ordered to turn over their passports.
Anthony LaPinta, attorney for Emeterio, denied that his client had participated in the scheme. He said Emeterio, a mother of three, was working a second job as an assistant to Michael Levin, a private investigator in Las Vegas.
Levin, a former FBI agent and resident of Oyster Bay, N.Y., has also been arrested in the case and is cooperating with authorities, according to court papers.
LaPinta contends that any money paid to Emeterio was for her work as Levin’s assistant, not for help in obtaining secret documents.
Lawyers for Weeks and Levin were not immediately available for comment.
James J. Hill, the FBI analyst arrested June 14 in Las Vegas and accused of selling hundreds of confidential criminal files, was moved Friday in federal custody from the North Las Vegas jail to a U.S. Marshal’s Service holding facility in Oklahoma en route to New York where he faces charges.
On Thursday, another suspect in the FBI case was released on $1 million bail and two more each were released on $500,000 bail.
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