Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Louisiana Man Pleads Gilty To Embezzling $1 Million+

From the Times-Picayune on 10/27/2014:

A Mandeville media consultant accused of running a scheme that defrauded clients of more than $1 million over a three-year period pleaded guilty Monday (Oct. 27) to five counts of mail fraud, according to U.S. Attorney Walt Green's office.

Raymond Christopher Reggie, 52, was charged in a superseding indictment with five counts of mail fraud. A federal grand jury in the Middle District of Louisiana in Baton Rouge indicted Reggie in August 2013 with five counts of wire fraud and six counts of money laundering.

Reggie is the former brother in law of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy and son of former Crowley City Judge Edmund Reggie.

The original counts were dismissed when the superseding indictment was filed, court records show. The U.S. Attorney's Office said Reggie's case was set to go to trial in Baton Rouge Monday. He pleaded guilty without the benefit of a plea agreement.

Reggie owned Nexlevel Group, an advertising firm that purchased and managed advertising for car dealerships.

Authorities said he submitted fake expenses for payment to the dealerships that showed the expenses actually were incurred. Once the dealerships submitted payments to Nexlevel, authorities said Reggie diverted the funds to a personal bank account.

Between January 2009 and July 2012, federal authorities said car dealerships issued Reggie's company 138 checks totaling approximately $1,217,657 for advertising services they did not receive.
Reggie is facing similar charges in St. Tammany Parish.

The St. Tammany Parish District Attorney's office charged Reggie with seven counts of theft over $1,500 in February 2013. The charges stem from an August 2012 arrest.

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office said at the time it had identified more than $600,000 in fake invoices for which Reggie was compensated. The sheriff's office said Supreme Automotive Group filed a complaint alleging it hired Reggie in 2010 to place ads for dealerships in various media outlets throughout southeastern Louisiana. The group said the ads never appeared in print or on the air.

Reggie is set to go to trial on the theft charges on March 16, court records show.

Reggie, who was one of President Bill Clinton's confidants in Louisiana, was sentenced in 2005 to serve one year and one day in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to bank fraud. Reggie admitted he used his company to move money between banks in Baton Rouge and New Orleans from 1999 to 2001 to make it seem like he had more cash than he actually did.

He took out a $6 million loan at Hibernia National Bank of New Orleans using a fabricated contract with the U.S. Census Bureau as collateral. Court records show Hibernia lost $3.5 million as a result.
In the federal mail fraud case, Reggie faces prison time, fines, restitution and could be forced to forfeit any property he obtained using money from the dealerships. A sentencing date has not been set.

"Being articulate, smart, charming and connected are often characteristics seen in successful con artists, like this defendant," Green said. "The audacity of his fraud schemes is only outdone by his desperate attempts to deflect blame on others. This defendant only accepted responsibility after realizing that his efforts to smear and blame others would not save him from the harsh reality of the law and facts."

Jerome R. McDuffie, acting special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service's criminal investigations division said his office and the U.S. Attorney's Office "remain fully committed to prosecution of those who engage in these practices for personal gain."

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