Former Political Operative Sentenced To Over 11 Years In Prison For Defrauding Louisiana Car Dealerships
BATON ROUGE, LA – A previously convicted political operative was sentenced yesterday to over 11 years in prison for using his advertising firm to orchestrate a scheme to defraud car dealerships in southeast Louisiana out of over $1,200,000.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Walt Green of the Middle District of Louisiana, and Special Agent in Charge Jerome R. McDuffie of the New Orleans Field Office of IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) made the announcement.
Raymond C. Reggie, 52, of Mandeville, Louisiana, pled guilty on October 27, 2014, to all five counts of a 2013 superseding indictment charging him with engaging in a wire fraud scheme to defraud various car dealerships in southeast Louisiana from September 2008 through July 2012. In addition to the prison sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Shelly D. Dick of the Middle District of Louisiana ordered Reggie to serve 2 years of supervised release following imprisonment and to pay more than $4.4 million in restitution and forfeiture, including $968,556 to the Supreme Automotive Group and $249,100 to Super Chevy Dealers of Baton Rouge, a local marketing group. Reggie was immediately remanded into custody following the sentencing.
According to government filings in the case, Reggie owned and operated Nexlevel Group, an advertising firm that assisted car dealerships in obtaining advertising from vendors in Southeast Louisiana. Reggie submitted fictitious advertising expenses for payment to the vendors by the dealerships, falsely representing that such expenses were actually incurred and should be paid to vendors. Once the dealerships issued the checks for the bogus expenses, Reggie deposited the checks into an account he controlled, diverting the funds to his personal use and enjoyment.
Reggie was previously convicted in November 2005 for scheming to defraud three banks in Louisiana in 1999 and 2000. In that case, he pled guilty in the Eastern District of Louisiana and was sentenced to one year in prison, followed by a term of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Green stated: “The defendant earned every day of the sentence he received yesterday. He stood before the Court as a twice convicted federal felon and seemingly blamed everything and everyone for his wrongdoing, with the glaring exception of himself. Fortunately, justice was guided by the two things the defendant feared most – the law and the facts. I greatly appreciate the tremendous efforts of the prosecutors and agents who handled this important matter, as well as our excellent partnerships with IRS-CI and the Fraud Section.”
Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Jerome R. McDuffie, stated: “We are pleased with today’s sentence. Mr. Reggie used his position and reputation in the business community to engage in a sophisticated fraud scheme for personal gain. IRS-CI and the U.S. Attorney’s office remain fully committed to prosecution of those who engage in illegal business practices. Today’s sentence should serve as a reminder that our agency will continue to investigate complex financial crimes and assist in the prosecution of those individuals who engage in such activities.”
This case was investigated by the New Orleans Field Office of IRS-CI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Rene Salomon and Ryan Crosswell of the Middle District of Louisiana and Senior Litigation Counsel Jack Patrick of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.