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September 21, 2019

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Las Vegas Councilman Barlow quits, says he’ll take fraud plea

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Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau

City Councilman Ricki Barlow speaks during a meeting of the Las Vegas City Council Wednesday, July 19, 2017.

Updated Monday, Jan. 22, 2018 | 6:25 p.m.

Three-term Las Vegas Councilman Ricki Barlow says he's resigning and will plead guilty to a federal fraud charge.

He told reporters today in the council chambers the felony charge stems from personal use of campaign funds in 2015.

The 46-year-old Barlow said in a prepared statement that his resignation would be effective at the end of the business day. He took no questions.

“I’m deeply ashamed of my conduct,” Barlow said in the statement. “That shame is as dark and abiding for me as my gladness for my City Council service is bright and enduring.”

It was not immediately clear when he would appear for his plea in U.S. District Court.

A lawyer who has represented him in the past did not immediately respond to messages.

Barlow was first elected in 2007 to represent downtown and historically black West Las Vegas.

The city council has 30 days to decide how it is going to fill Barlow’s empty seat.

There are two options: A caretaker can be appointed to the seat by the council to hold the spot until the next election, or a special election could be held.

The matter could come up at either the Feb. 8 or Feb. 21 council meetings, where the decision on filling Barlow’s vacant spot will be made.

The last time a city council position had to be filled before end of term was 2009 when Steve Wolfson became Clark County district attorney, leaving his Ward 2 spot open with a more than a year left on his term. Bob Beers was elected to fill his spot via special election.

“The trend has been if there’s a short amount of time there’s been a caretaker, and if it’s a longer amount of time they have done a special election,” said Jace Radke, Las Vegas spokesperson.

Barlow’s former Ward 5 position has over a year left on its term, lasting through June 2019.

It was reported in September 2016 that Barlow was the focus of an FBI corruption probe.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.