An executive with a prominent builder of residential high-rises in Las Vegas and an alleged accomplice are facing federal charges that they stole almost $6 million from the company over a nearly five-year span, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Turnberry West Realty controller Hope Ippoliti, 51, and Rocco Lazazzaro, 54, both of Las Vegas, were named in a 26-count federal indictment handed up Dec. 19 in Las Vegas. Each faces one conspiracy and 24 wire fraud charges. Lazazzaro also is accused of attempting to interfere with interstate commerce by threats and violence.
Turnberry West Realty is an arm of Aventura-based Turnberry Associates.
Ippoliti appeared Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Johnston. Her lawyer, Michael Miceli, said she will plead not guilty.
Lazazzaro appeared Friday before a federal magistrate judge in Las Vegas who ordered him detained pending trial, U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said.
The indictment alleges that as western regional controller for Turnberry, Ippoliti funneled money to herself and Lazazzaro between May 2007 and January 2012. Last February, Lazazzaro allegedly tried to use “force, violence and fear” to extort more money from Turnberry.
If convicted, Ippoliti and Lazazzaro could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. Prosecutors also are seeking to seize from them about $5.7 million worth of assets and property.
A Turnberry Associates official in Aventura did not immediately respond to questions, including whether Ippoliti was still an employee.
The company is responsible for the four-tower Turnberry Place luxury condominium complex just off the Las Vegas Strip. The development includes 777 residences in four 40-story towers, as well as the private membership Stirling Club. . It also developed the Residences at MGM near the MGM Grand resort and the Town Square shopping center on the southern portion of the Las Vegas Strip.
Turnberry Associates owns a 50 percent stake in the Aventura Mall and the former Loehmann’s Fashion Island in Aventura, the Fontainebleau Miami Beach resort and other South Florida hotel and office properties.