A Las Vegas police investigation into a prominent real estate agent in Southern California found a series of suspected sexual assaults that spanned “numerous locations across the US” for more than a decade, according to an arrest warrant.
According to court records, agent Michael Lee Bjorkman has faced two sexual assaults in Las Vegas. If convicted, the 48-year-old man could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Las Vegas police did not specify how many victims they identified during their investigation or whether further charges against Bjorkman were expected. It was also not immediately clear on Friday whether Björkman was being investigated by other law enforcement agencies in connection with the extra-state allegations that surfaced during the Las Vegas investigation.
In addition to Las Vegas, the warrant also accuses Björkman of the attacks in Los Angeles, Maui and Denver.
Björkman is primarily based in the Los Angeles area, according to his real estate group’s website. However, his warrant states that he travels frequently to work to attend real estate conferences and training courses across the country, where most of the alleged assaults took place.
Court records show he was released on $ 100,000 bail in the Las Vegas case as of Friday. Björkman was arrested in Miami-Dade County on March 9 and classified as a refugee according to the Florida Court. However, he was later released from custody and allowed to travel to Las Vegas to drop himself off there.
“Poison the well”
His attorney, David Chesnoff, said Friday that his client had been indicted in the Las Vegas Magistrate Court earlier this week.
“He has two charges against the same alleged person in Nevada and we intend to vigorously defend those charges,” Chesnoff said. “As for the rest of the allegations, I’d say it’s outrageous that the police have an arrest warrant, including hearsay, of events that allegedly took place outside of Nevada years ago. It’s like purposely poisoning the well, I would say. “
In the warrant, a city police detective described 27 pages of a month-long investigation into the man that began in September after a woman reported she was drugged and sexually assaulted by Bjorkman during an August real estate convention in Las Vegas.
The woman told the police that she had gone to dinner with other congress participants and that she “felt extremely intoxicated after eating just one drink earlier in the evening,” the arrest warrant said. It’s the last thing she can remember from the evening, she said before waking up the next morning in her hotel room – according to the arrest warrant, “alone and naked”.
Several other cases are described reported to the detective by others in the real estate business where they woke up naked or partially clothed in their hotel rooms with no memory of the previous night. The alleged attacks began back in 2000, the arrest warrant said.
“Date Rape” Drugs
The sexual assault allegations were primarily made by women, as the warrant shows, although at least two men said they had been drugged due to serious memory loss in past real estate incidents.
According to the warrant, the suspect may have had help from “a close friend” who apparently provided Björkman with “date rape drugs” and sometimes recorded the sexual assaults. On Friday it was not clear whether the friend whose name is listed on the arrest warrant will be prosecuted.
In her first report to Metro, the Las Vegas victim said she confided in several colleagues that she had been attacked at Congress and learned through those conversations that at least three others believed they were drugged and sexual that weekend justify been attacked.
As the attacks spread across the Las Vegas real estate industry, “more men and women came forward claiming they had been drugged at real estate events in the US,” the warrant said.
Shortly afterwards, one of the victims in Las Vegas decided to share their experience on Facebook, according to the arrest warrant. The post that did not name Björkman received “numerous” responses from others claiming that Björkman was “drugged and / or sexually assaulted” by Björkman.
The warrant states that Björkman refused to speak to the detective in January, but through his attorney at the time he said he would cooperate if the police were given a warrant or a search warrant.
He is due for a preliminary hearing in the Las Vegas case on May 6, during which evidence will be presented to a judge. After the hearing, the judge will decide whether there is enough evidence for Björkman to stand trial.
Contact Rio Lacanlale at [email protected] or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.