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Former Nevada nonprofit director sentenced in bribery scheme

A former director of a Nevada nonprofit dealing with distressed housing was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison in a bribery case, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

Sergio Barajas, a 54-year-old from Chino Hills, California, also must serve three years of federal supervision after his prison sentence and 1,000 hours of community service.

Prosecutors said Barajas, a former director of community development for the National Community Stabilization Trust, took in more than $380,000 in bribes for hundreds of illegal property deals in Nevada, Arizona and California from 2011-14.

The National Community Stabilization Trust, a Nevada nonprofit formed in 2008 in response to the national foreclosure crisis, works to restore vacant properties and demolish unsafe properties, according to its website.

Barajas was described by prosecutors in a sentencing memorandum as “the most culpable person in a three-year sprawling bribery scheme that involved a federally funded program intended to help America recover from one of its worst financial crises.”

He’s expected to surrender to serve his prison term in early January.

Another defendant, Alan Cassell of Chula Vista, California, pleaded guilty in March as part of a group plea agreement, according to court records.

In June, Cassell was sentenced to two years’ probation. Charges were dismissed against five others.

Contact Dylan Svoboda at dsvoboda@reviewjournal.com. Follow @dylanksvoboda on Twitter.

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