Former Political Operative Convicted In Million Dollar Fraud Scheme
BATON ROUGE, LA – United States Attorney Walt Green announced today that RAYMOND CHRISTOPHER REGGIE, age 52, of Mandeville, Louisiana, pled guilty this morning before U.S. District Judge Shelly D. Dick to all five counts of mail fraud charged against him. REGGIE had been scheduled for trial today and pled guilty without the benefit of a plea agreement. REGGIE faces incarceration, fines, restitution orders, and the forfeiture of assets. His sentencing date has not yet been set.
This morning, REGGIE pled guilty to a Superseding Indictment which charged him with engaging in a scheme to defraud various car dealerships in southeast Louisiana from January 2009 through July 2012. During the relevant period, REGGIE owned and operated Nexlevel Group, an advertising firm that purchased and managed advertising for the car dealerships. REGGIE submitted fictitious advertising expenses for payment by the dealerships, falsely representing that such expenses were actually incurred. Once the dealerships issued payments for the bogus expenses, REGGIE diverted the payments to his personal use and enjoyment. As a result of REGGIE’S submission of fictitious advertising expenses for payment, the car dealerships issued 138 checks totaling approximately $1,217,657.36 for advertising services which had not been received by the dealerships. REGGIE diverted all of the fraudulently obtained funds to a bank account which he controlled.
According to government filings in the case, REGGIE also allegedly engaged in tax and bank fraud during the relevant period. If proven, such activities could be considered at his sentencing in this matter.
United States Attorney Green stated: “Being articulate, smart, charming, and connected are often characteristics seen in successful con artists, like this defendant. The audacity of his fraud schemes is only outdone by his desperate attempts to deflect blame to 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. I greatly appreciate the tremendous work of the prosecutors and agents who handled this matter. My office will continue to work with IRS-CI, the Fraud Section, and our other partners to ensure that such fraudsters are brought to justice.”
Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Jerome R. McDuffie of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, stated: “We are pleased with the guilty pleas entered today by Raymond Reggie. IRS-CI and the U. S. Attorney’s office will not ignore illegal business practices and remain fully committed to prosecution of those who engage in these practices for personal gain.”
This matter is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana, the Criminal Fraud Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Criminal Investigations Division of the Internal Revenue Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rene Salomon and Ryan Crosswell and Senior Litigation Counsel Jack Patrick of the Criminal Fraud Section.