FBI investigation into Nye County deputy has begun, sources say

The FBI is investigating a Nye County sheriff’s captain for misconduct after Review-Journal articles raised questions about his ethics and abuse of power as a deputy, according to sources familiar with the matter.

FBI agents served a warrant on the sheriff’s office on Wednesday, but the sheriff’s spokesperson, the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment on what was seized.

In previous months, four people who were interviewed or spoke to FBI agents said investigators asked about Capt. David Boruchowitz’s actions, including his conduct in the Angela Evans case, former CEO of the Valley Electric Association, and the prison contracts he oversees.

Boruchowitz, one of the department’s senior officials who often has greater public visibility than Sheriff Sharon Wehrly, posted a video Thursday confirming the FBI raid. But in an email exchange, he denied being at the center of the investigation.

“I had no interaction with the FBI or involvement with the warrant or anything to do with anything,” he wrote. “I will continue to do my job despite the lies, deceptions and attempts to discredit me. Criminals will always try to discredit those they believe will hold them accountable. No warrant is needed, the FBI can ask the agency or me what they want and we’ll gladly deliver it.

In the past, Boruchowitz has been accused of a number of questionable actions that have sparked state and federal investigations, including showing homemade pornography around the sheriff’s office and having inappropriate dealings with inmates during the management of the establishment. His story also includes him in the filing of several lawsuits and liability claims.

The sources all spoke on condition of anonymity because they said the FBI asked them to refrain from discussing their interactions with the agency.

Botched investigation

An article in the Review-Journal in February showed that Boruchowitz had faced numerous accusations that he had abused his power for years and had helped form an activist group to remove VEA management when he was overseeing Evans’ arrest.

Boruchowitz arrested Evans in 2019, claiming she used her position to make improvements to her personal property, but the Review-Journal found she did not own the residence when the work was completed. The case was so flawed that prosecutors dropped the charges and she is suing Boruchowitz and the county. A federal judge is currently deciding whether to grant a defense motion to dismiss the case.

Boruchowitz admitted in depositions for Evans’ civil case that he led a group working to overthrow the VEA board and planned to run for a seat on the board – which pays around 20,000 $ per year – while conducting Evans’ investigation.

A source said the initial investigation into Boruchowitz appears to have extended to other Nye lawmakers, but said the FBI did not tell him who or why.

“It opened up a Pandora’s box of serious problems here,” he said.

Wehrly did not respond to interview requests, and the video posted by Boruchowitz indicates that agency staff will not answer any further questions about it.

Special Agent Christina Burt, who sources say is conducting interviews in Nye County, did not call back, and FBI spokeswoman Sandra Breault wrote that “media inquiries are directed to the U.S. Attorney’s Office” after the FBI raid.

“We neither confirm nor deny the investigations,” U.S. Attorney’s spokeswoman Trisha Young wrote in response to a phone call left with her office. She did not respond to a request for search warrants, and Boruchowitz in her video said they were sealed.

The lawyer refuses to comment

Evans’ attorney, Andre Lagomarsino, also declined to comment “one way or another” on whether he spoke to the FBI about the Evans case.

Evans’ article revealed that Wehrly, Boruchowitz’s boss, testified in depositions that she saw no problem with Boruchowitz’s actions in the case. Both argued that the criminal case against Evans was strong and accused the district attorney’s office of dropping the charges.

Wehrly said the FBI investigated the relationship allegations in 2015 but gave him the case.

“I can tell you there was an FBI investigation into this, and at the end of the FBI investigation there was no crime and that discipline was what they would recommend,” she testified in a deposition by Evans.

Boruchowitz testified in the same case that he received a 10-hour suspension for having an “inappropriate relationship” with a probationer.

Wehrly, whom Boruchowitz as former police union president endorsed in her first run, has promoted him repeatedly since taking office in 2015. She faces a tough race for re-election in November after two controversial terms.

The FBI drops the ball

Two sources said the FBI was concerned the Review-Journal story might give the impression that the agency had “dropped the ball” in the 2015 investigation and that officials wanted to make sure this time they were conducting a thorough investigation into the allegations regarding Boruchowitz and other issues in Nye County.

Another source said the FBI began investigating in late 2021 or early 2022 before the reports, but appeared to have stepped up interviews after the February story.

The sheriff’s department is also facing a state investigation into deputies’ actions related to a horrific fatal accident in March 2021 that killed three members of an Idaho family.

Nye District Attorney Chris Arabia last month asked the state Department of Public Safety to investigate the failure of Nye sheriff’s deputies to arrest a driver, Tyler Kennedy, who they say was drunk an hour before killing three people.

The Review-Journal articles revealed new body camera evidence that contradicted Boruchowitz’s statements, claiming that deputies believed Kennedy was not intoxicated when they let him go. Saudi wants to determine whether the deputies who let Kennedy go could face criminal charges and whether the sheriff’s office has provided any evidence in the case to cover up a mistake.

None of the sources said they had received information about the duration of the FBI investigation.

Contact Arthur Kane at [email protected] and follow @ArthurMKane on Twitter. Kane is a member of the Review-Journal’s investigative team, focusing on reports that hold executives and agencies accountable and expose wrongdoing.