A Nevada man scheduled to stand trail here later this month in a fraud scheme involving several current and former D.C. police officers was found shot to death yesterday in his fashionable Las Vegas home.
The body of Sherwin I. (Jerry) Lisner, 46, was found in the swimming pool at his house by his wife. When Lisner failed to answer telephone calls from his wife, she went home and followed a bloody trail that began in the garage and led throughout the house.
Las Vegas police said they found several bullet holes throughout the two-story residence, and would not be able to determine how many times Lisner had been shot until after an autopsy.
There were also reports that Lisner had been tortured before this murder, and signs of a massive struggle in his house, police said.
Lisner was one of two remaining defendents scheduled to stand trial before U.S. District Judge June Green here in connection with a money-swapping scheme. It is unclear whether the trial will continue as scheduled for his codefendant, D.C. police officer Gary L. Richardson.
There was no indication, law enforcement authorities said, that Lisner's murder was tied to the Washington investigation or his indictment here.
Law enforcement authorities said they believed Lisner knew about criminal activities in other areas of the country and that persons might have thought he was cooperating with investigations in those areas. Authorities declined to confirm or deny his alleged cooperation.
According to the indictment against him here, Lisner was the ringleader of a group of persons who would entice unsuspecting professional persons to Washington with promises of exchanging large sums of money for even greater sums of tainted underworld crime money.
Actually, the persons in on the scheme would take the businessman's money and make phony arrests when the switch was made, the charges said. The arresting "officers," who were part of the scheme, would keep the businessman's money and let him leave without charges being filed, according to the indictment.
According to investigators, victims would be told their money could be exchanged on a 3-to-1 or 4-to-1 basis for "hot" money that needed to be "laundered" -- passed onto legitmate outlets to mask the criminal sources -- by East Coast gangsters. Once swindled out of their money, the victims would not report the crimes to the police, investigators said.
Seven of the nine persons ultimately charged in the scheme have entered guilty pleas, and six have been sentenced. Two are on probation and the four others are serving terms ranging from six months in a halfway house to two years in prison.
Yet to be sentenced is Lisner's brother-in-law, Printes A. (Junior) Blevins, a former D.C. police officer who has been described as Lisner's chief lieutenant in the alleged fraud ring. Blevins, who was convicted of conspiracy, was reportedly responsible for identifying and recruiting D.C. police officers to participate in the scheme, which was carried out at Union Station and area airports on several occasions.
Lisner was a fugitive for several weeks after his indictment. He had since been free on bond.