Raymond Reggie sentenced in $1.2 million auto dealership scam; prosecutor calls politically connected felon a 'flim-flam con artist'
Even though 53-year-old Raymond Reggie pleaded guilty in the fall to five counts of mail fraud, he testified Wednesday that he was stroke-impaired when he admitted his guilt Oct. 27, and he asked U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick to let him withdraw that guilty plea and instead go to trial. Reggie suffered a stroke Oct. 6.
Dick declined his request, finding the plea he made in front of her in the fall was done so knowingly and voluntarily.
Reggie, who was sentenced about a decade ago to a year in prison for bank frauds in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, vehemently proclaimed his innocence on the current charges.
"I never stole anything. I never broke the law. It was a nontraditional pay arrangement. I didn't do anything wrong. I am 100 percent not guilty," he told Dick, referring to the money he was accused of fraudulently obtaining from Slidell-based Supreme Automotive Group and Super Chevy Dealers of Baton Rouge between 2008 and 2012 while working as a media consultant for the groups of car dealerships.
Supreme's members have dealerships in Gonzales, Plaquemine and other locations in the southeast part of the state.
In addition to the 135-month prison term Dick imposed, the judge ordered Reggie to pay a combined $1.2 million in restitution: $968,556 to Supreme Automotive Group and $249,100 to Super Chevy Dealers.
Dick also ordered Reggie to be taken immediately into federal custody.
"This may be a life sentence," Reggie's attorney, former federal prosecutor Matthew Coman, told the judge before she refused to allow Reggie to surrender in about a month.
Reggie told the judge he is not a bad person. Dick agreed, but said she imposed the maximum sentence under the federal sentencing guideline range because Reggie is in need of punishment. She noted he defrauded the car dealerships while on probation for his prior conviction.
"That tells me you are willing to offend regardless of the consequences," the judge said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rene Salomon called Reggie as a "serial fraudster" and a "flim-flam con artist."
"He can't stop serial offending. It needs to stop here," the prosecutor said.
Reggie also faces state theft charges in St. Tammany Parish.
Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Mandeville businessman Raymond Christopher Reggie walks into Russell B. Long Federal Courthouse in Baton Rouge Wednesday morning, for the sentencing hearing on his conviction on five counts of mail fraud, in connection with stealing over $1 million from multiple south Louisiana car dealerships over three years, for advertising services never rendered. The fees they paid went into Reggie's bank account..
Reggie, son of the late Crowley City Judge Edmund Reggie and a brother-in-law of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, previously worked on the campaigns of former President Bill Clinton and other high-profile Democratic campaigns.
Reggie's father headed John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign in Louisiana and served as Gov. Edwin Edwards' executive counsel during Edwards' second term in office. Edmund Reggie was convicted in the latter part of his life of misapplying funds of the now-defunct Acadia Savings & Loan of Crowley, a bank he founded in the late 1950s.
Copyright 2015, Capital City Press LLC, Baton Rouge
From: Joe Gyan, Jr., "Raymond Reggie sentenced in $1.2 million auto dealership scam; prosecutor calls politically connected felon a 'flim-flam con artist'," The Advocate, New Orleans, June 18, 2015, http://theadvocate.com/home/12679636-125/raymond-reggie-sentenced-in-12, accessed 06/18/2015. Joe Gyan, Jr. can be reached at JGYAN@THEADVOCATE.COM. Reprinted in accordance with the "fair use" provision of Title 17 U.S.C.
Meeting with Mandeville businessman Raymond Reggie secretly recorded, witness says
David Loeb, a former Jefferson Parish prosecutor, said Reggie admitted taking funds from the company while acting as a media consultant for the group of car dealerships.
But that specific portion of the meeting was not recorded, acknowledged Loeb, whose testimony came during a hearing on motions filed so far in Reggie's criminal case.
Reggie's lead attorney, David Courcelle, argued Tuesday that Supreme Automotive Group's top brass was aware of the payments made to Reggie.
Reggie, 51, was indicted in August on multiple federal counts of wire fraud and money laundering and is slated to stand trial April 14 in Baton Rouge.
He is accused of using his advertising agency to steal more than $1.1 million from January 2009 until July 2012 from car dealerships that were among his clients. He essentially gave himself a $1.1 million raise by billing the dealerships for advertising that was never purchased, the indictment alleges.
Alleged victims included members of Super Chevy Dealers of Baton Rouge and Supreme Automotive Group.
Supreme Automotive Group's members have dealerships in Gonzales, Plaquemine and other locations in southeast Louisiana.
Reggie, son of the late Crowley City Judge Edmund Reggie, is a former brother-in-law of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy and once was a confidant of former President Bill Clinton. Edmund Reggie died in November.
U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick, at the request of Reggie's attorneys, on Tuesday sealed both the tape of the meeting that Loeb recorded and a transcript of the recording. Federal prosecutors did not object to the sealing, which keeps the recording and transcript out of public view until they are unsealed by the court.
Dick ruled the recording and transcript are authentic. The defense team still could challenge their admissibility. Courcelle said the defense wants its expert to examine Loeb's digital recorder.
Loeb said he did not tell Reggie he was recording their August 2012 meeting.
"I didn't want Mr. Reggie to be aware of it. I wanted the conversation to be candid and open," he testified.
Loeb estimated that roughly five minutes of the meeting went unrecorded, but Courcelle said the defense believes some 20 minutes was not recorded.
Reggie's prior fraud convictions also were a subject of Tuesday's hearing.
Reggie pleaded guilty in 2005 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank frauds that cost Hibernia National Bank of New Orleans $3.4 million Capital One bought Hibernia that year and Biz Capital of Metairie $3.3 million. He was sentenced in that case by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans to 12 months and one day in prison. Barbier also ordered Reggie to pay full restitution to both victims.
Courcelle argued that allowing a jury to hear about Reggie's previous convictions would unfairly prejudice him.
"I think this is a clear case of undue prejudice," he told Dick. "This case is completely dissimilar from the prior case."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rene Salomon disagreed, saying the former case dealt with false invoices. Prosecutors in the current case also allege Reggie used such invoices to steal money from the company.
"It all deals with phony invoices," the prosecutor told the judge.
Dick said the prior convictions are "fair game" if Reggie testifies at trial.
In 1993, Edmund Reggie pleaded guilty in Lafayette to a charge that he misapplied funds of his failed Acadia Savings and Loan. U.S. District Judge John Shaw sentenced Reggie to four months of home confinement, fined him $30,000 and placed him on probation for three years. Acadia Savings lost more than $40 million when it collapsed in 1987.
Copyright 2014, Capital City Press LLC, Baton Rouge
From: Joe Gyan, Jr., "Meeting with Mandeville businessman Raymond Reggie secretly recorded, witness says," The Advocate, New Orleans, January 22, 2014, http://theadvocate.com/home/8130984-125/meeting-with-mandeville-businessman-raymond, accessed 01/22/2014. Joe Gyan, Jr. can be reached at JGYAN@THEADVOCATE.COM. Reprinted in accordance with the "fair use" provision of Title 17 U.S.C.