Media Firm Owner Sentenced to 135 Months in Prison in Scheme to Defraud Louisiana Car Dealerships
A Louisiana media firm owner was sentenced yesterday to 135 months in prison for orchestrating an elaborate $1.2 million scheme to bill car dealerships in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and New Orleans areas for fictitious advertising services.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney J. Walter Green of the Middle District of Louisiana and Special Agent in Charge Jerome R. McDuffie of the IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) New Orleans Field Office made the announcement.
Raymond C. Reggie, 52, of Mandeville, Louisiana, pleaded guilty on Oct. 27, 2014, to five counts of wire fraud. Some of the conduct to which Reggie pleaded guilty he committed while on supervised release from a prior fraud conviction. In addition to imposing the prison sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Shelly D. Dick of the Middle District of Louisiana ordered Reggie to pay $1,217,657 in restitution, and to forfeit the same amount.
Reggie owned and operated Nexlevel Group, a firm that purchased and managed advertising for car dealerships in Southeast Louisiana. According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, Reggie billed the dealerships for fictitious advertising expenses, falsely representing that such expenses were actually incurred. Reggie admitted that once the dealerships issued the checks for the bogus expenses, he diverted the funds for his personal use and enjoyment. In total, the car dealerships issued 138 checks for more than $1.2 million for fictitious advertising services.
This case was investigated by the IRS-CI New Orleans Field Office. The case was prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Jack Patrick of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rene Salomon and Ryan Crosswell of the Middle District of Louisiana.