Former Charleston, SC Car Dealer Johnny Dangerfield Pleads Not Guilty To Bank Fraud Charges
On May 23, 2011, former car dealer Johnny Dangerfield pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial at his arraignment Monday in U.S. District Court. Dangerfield apparently plans to fight federal bank fraud and money laundering charges involving $3.8 million in loans obtained by automotive businesses he once owned around the state. U.S. Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant set Dangerfield free on a $50,000 unsecured bond.
John Cornelius Dangerfield, 48, a/k/a Johnny Dangerfield, of Moncks Corner, SC, was indicted in an auto dealer bank-fraud case on May 11, 2011, by a federal grand jury. Dangerfield had developed a public presence by routinely saturating the weekend TV airwaves in Charleston, SC with infomercials about car deals, mainly Suzukis. Dangerfield closed his Suzuki car dealership operations in 2009 apparently as a result of the failing economy.
Dangerfield purportedly owned four Suzuki dealerships, including stores in Moncks Corner, Summerville, Myrtle Beach and Easley during the time of the alleged conspiracy. He has also been identified with a Pontiac-Buick-GMC dealership in Easley and another Subaru-Isuzu dealership in Charleston.
See the Johnny Dangerfield Indictment here:Indictment of John Dangerfield a/k/a Johnny Dangerfield.
U.S. Attorney William Nettles announced the indictment this week, which contends that between July 2004 and February 2009, Dangerfield and four co-defendants at dealerships around the state conspired to defraud Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank by making misrepresentations to auditors about the status of vehicles being sold. The defendants are alleged to have “sold the cars and then failed to pay to the bank,” the indictment says. The indictment further alleges, that as a result of the fraud, the group obtained approximately $3.8 million from a Fifth Third line of credit covering approximately 190 cars.
Federal prosecutors also allege that the dealerships also misrepresented that cars were being sold in connection to obtaining incentive sales money from Suzuki, “when the cars were not, in fact, sold.”
In one instance, the indictment alleges, one of Dangerfield’s co-defendants “represented that his dog had purchased a car.”
The others indicted for conspiracy with Dangerfield were Robert George Low, of Moncks Corner, SC; Daniel James Cory Cadden, of Moncks Corner, SC; Lloyd Ray Hayes, of North Charleston, SC; and Jeffrey Michael Belsky, of Easley, SC. Each was indicted on one-count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money-laundering. Dangerfield was indicted on an additional three counts of criminal structuring, and criminal forfeiture charges against him were contained in the indictment as well.
The specific statutes named in the indictment as having been violated were 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 981, 982, 1349 and 1956, 31 U.S.C. § 5324, and 28 U.S.C. § 2461.
The conspiracy to commit bank fraud charge carries a maximum of 30 years imprisonment; the conspiracy to commit money laundering charge carries a maximum of 10 years imprisonment. The criminal-structuring charges each carry a maximum of 5 years imprisonment.
The case was investigated by agents of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations (IRS-CID) unit and the FBI.
The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Sentencing regarding federal bank fraud violations is generally governed by the statutory factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. 3553(a), and Section 2B1.1 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are now considered advisory and not mandatory. The statutory factors a federal court must consider in imposing a sentence are the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant, the need for the sentence imposed to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law, and to provide just punishment for the offense, the need to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct, the need to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant, the need to provide the defendant with needed educational or vocational training, medical care, or other correctional treatment in the most effective manner, the kinds of sentences available, the sentence recommended by the Sentencing Guidelines and any applicable guidelines or policy statement therein, the need to avoid sentence disparities, and the need for restitution. Generally, Section 2B1.1 of the Sentencing Guidelines, bank fraud sentences are tied to the amount of money lost, or the intended loss, pursuant to the bank fraud scheme. Usually, the more money which is lost in a bank fraud scheme, the longer the sentence of imprisonment.
South Carolina Criminal Attorney Joe Griffith understands the federal and state bank fraud statutes, federal sentencing guidelines, and case law involved with mortgage fraud and bank fraud. The Joe Griffith Law Firm is a Charleston, SC law firm that focuses on criminal litigation and bank-mortgage fraud.
We represent those accused of criminal misdemeanors and/or felonies in a variety of state and federal proceedings including, but not limited to, initial appearances, preliminary hearings, bond hearings, trials, sentencing hearings, parole hearings, probation hearings, and appeals. We represent those designated “witnesses,” “subjects” or “targets” of grand jury criminal investigations, and have the experience to know when to assert 5th Amendment rights, make effective “proffer” statements, or demand immunity from government prosecutors. We are extremely effective in conducting pre-indictment investigations to gather and analyze evidence in order to make factual and legal presentations to prosecutors in an effort to persuade them to issue a declination whereby they agree to not indict a person or company under criminal investigation. We have been successful in having investigations declined pre-indictment. In the event of an indictment or other criminal charge, our attorneys stand ready to fight for our client and protect his or her legal rights to the fullest extent of the law.
If you or your loved one has received a subject letter or target letter naming you as a subject or target of an alleged bank fraud or mortgage fraud crime, have been served with a search warrant or grand jury subpoena, or have been charged in a criminal complaint or an indictment with the crime of bank fraud, contact the Joe Griffith Law Firm immediately to discuss your legal rights.
Joseph P. Griffith, Jr.
SC Bank Fraud Attorney
SC Mortgage Fraud Lawyer
SC Criminal Defense Bank-Mortgage Fraud Law Firm
Joe Griffith Law Firm, LLC
7 State Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
South Carolina Attorney Joe Griffith is a former SC federal prosecutor who handles bank fraud and mortgage fraud cases in South Carolina and the United States. As a former federal prosecutor who has litigated nearly 30 federal court trials, top-rated attorney Joseph P. Griffith, Jr. focuses the great majority of his practice on federal White Collar Criminal defense. He has handled a wide range of White Collar Criminal cases, with particular emphasis on antitrust crimes, bank fraud, corporate fraud, environmental crimes, false claims act/government fraud, health care fraud, mail/wire fraud, securities/stock fraud and tax fraud crimes. Joseph P. Griffith, Jr. has received Martindale-Hubbell’s highest AV rating, has received AVVO’s highest 10/10 rating, is a member of the Bar Register of Pre-eminent Lawyers, has been chosen a South Carolina Super Lawyer, and has been chosen one of the Best Lawyers in America. He has the experience to adroitly guide you or your company through the difficult process of a White Collar criminal investigation, and, if necessary, forcefully litigate your defense in the event of a prosecution.
© 2011 Joseph P. Griffith, Jr.