Ex-assemblyman indicted on charges of theft, lying about residency

Alexander Assefa, ex-assemblyman, indicted in case tied to campaign funds

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A former state lawmaker was indicted Thursday after authorities accused him of misusing campaign funds and lying about his residency.

Former Assemblyman Alexander Assefa, D-Las Vegas, was indicted on five felony counts of offering false information for a filing or record, three felony counts of making false statements under perjury, four felony theft counts and two gross misdemeanor counts of submitting false residency statements on a filing for public office.

“Mr. Assefa’s actions ran directly against the conduct that we both expect and demand of those in public office,” Attorney General Aaron Ford said Thursday in an emailed statement. “Nobody is above the law, and my office will prosecute this case fairly and hold Mr. Assefa accountable.”

Assefa was first elected in 2018 to Assembly District 42 in the Spring Valley area and was re-elected in 2020. He resigned from the Legislature in January 2021 amid an investigation that led to the charges.

He first faced the same charges in March 2021, but the case was dismissed without prejudice in February, meaning officials were able to file the charges again, court records show.

Assefa’s defense attorney, Damian Sheets, did not reply to a request for comment on Thursday.

According to the indictment, Assefa lied about his residency in declaration of candidacy forms filed in March 2018 and March 2020, in a voter registration application filed in September 2017, and in a voter registration change of address form filed in March 2020. He also is accused of falsely reporting the amount of campaign contributions he received from January 2018 to May 2018, throughout 2019, and from January 2020 to March 2020.

The theft charges stem from allegations that Assefa converted “election campaign contributions for his personal use” from April 2018 through February 2020, according to the indictment. Three of the counts are for theft of $3,500 or more, while one is for theft of $650 to $3,500.

In October 2020, the Review-Journal reported that police were looking into Assefa and transactions made between his campaign account and his personal bank account as well as accounts used by KIB Transport LLC, a company for which he and his mother are listed as managing members. Police also investigated whether Assefa actually lived in the district, as was required by law.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at [email protected] or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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