Las Vegas Sun

September 25, 2016

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Ex-Pure club co-owner sentenced in IRS concealed tips case

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Sam Morris / File photo

Patrons step up to the bar and fill the dance floor at Pure in Caesars Palace.

A longtime Las Vegas Strip nightclub operator who was at the middle of a federal tip-concealing probe was sentenced Wednesday to three years of probation and eight months of house arrest.

Steve Davidovici, also known as "Stevie D.," a former executive of the Pure Nightclub at Caesars Palace, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson.

“Judge Dawson made the right decision today by taking into consideration all of the factors in this case, including Steve's health,” Davidovici’s attorney, David Z. Chesnoff said after the sentencing.

Chesnoff was referring to Davidovici’s eye condition of acute optic neuropathy — one of the reasons the judge said he would not give Davidovici prison time.

“He recognized Steve for who he is: A hardworking man whose good deeds far outweigh his mistakes. Steve will make the most of this opportunity to continue to be a productive citizen, to employ hundreds of Las Vegas residents and to give back to our community,” Chesnoff said outside the courtroom.

As part of the sentence, which requires Davidovici to wear an electronic device during his home confinement, the former club kingpin must pay $141,306 to the Internal Revenue Service, the judge said.

Davidovici and chief doorman Mikel Hasen pleaded guilty in March to filing false tax returns. Prosecutors had argued for an 18-month prison term for both.

The judge was tougher on Hasen, sentencing him to spend about a year in prison and pay $99,566 in restitution.

A third man implicated in the federal investigation, Kelly Doll, 31, a former VIP host, pleaded guilty to one count of federal tax evasion last week. His sentencing is set for Nov. 24.

The federal investigation looked into unreported "tip pool" funds that were generally shared weekly among employees at the club from about 2005 through 2008. The IRS sent agents in February 2008 to begin investigating Pure and Davidovici.

The tips came from patrons trying to bypass the line at the door. Tips were collected, pooled and generally distributed on a weekly basis to Pure managers, door personnel and VIP hosts, according to the Justice Department.

Two other former hosts, Ali "Shawn" Olyaie and Richard Chu, have also pleaded guilty. While Olyaie is awaiting sentencing, Chu was sentenced to three months of probation and ordered to pay $42,280 in restitution.

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