Raymond Reggie _lowres (copy)

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Mandeville businessman Raymond Reggie walks into Russell B. Long Federal Courthouse in Baton Rouge in 2016.

Once accused in a multicount $1.2 million fraud and money-laundering scheme, politically connected Mandeville businessman Raymond Reggie pleaded guilty Tuesday in Baton Rouge federal court to a single wire fraud count that alleges just over $14,000 in fraudulent conduct.

The long-running case involved Reggie billing a group of south Louisiana automobile dealerships — Super Chevy Dealers of Baton Rouge and Slidell-based Supreme Automotive Group — for advertising purchases he never made.

Reggie, who was scheduled to stand trial next week, previously pleaded guilty in the same case in 2014 to five counts of mail fraud and was later sentenced by U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick to more than 11 years in prison and ordered to make $1.2 million in restitution.

But a New Orleans federal appeals court tossed out the plea and sentence in 2016 because Reggie argued he was impaired by a stroke when he entered his guilty plea. Dick recused herself after that ruling.

Reggie's plea Tuesday makes him a two-time convicted felon. He pleaded guilty in 2005 and was sentenced to a year in prison for bank frauds in the New Orleans area.

U.S. District Judge John deGravelles did not set a sentencing date Tuesday, but a plea agreement with prosecutors calls for the 57-year-old Reggie to be put on supervised release for three years, with the first two years of that to be home detention. The judge could reject the agreement, which would allow Reggie to withdraw his guilty plea.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rene Salomon told the judge that Reggie faces up to 20 years in federal prison, but the time Reggie already served following his prior guilty plea in the case — nearly a year — is an appropriate sentence.

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"We're just glad to get this over with. Ray just wants to move on with his life," his attorney, John McLindon, said outside the federal courthouse. Reggie was indicted in the case back in 2013.

He already has paid $82,000 in restitution as part of the plea agreement. The restitution represents the amount of fraud alleged in the five wire fraud counts contained in a superseding indictment, even though he pleaded guilty to only one of those counts. The superseding indictment did not include the money-laundering counts that were contained in the original indictment.

Reggie was accused of billing Super Chevy Dealers of Baton Rouge and Supreme Automotive Group more than $1.2 million for advertising purchases he never made as a media consultant between 2008 and 2012.

Reggie stated previously in court that he had a "nontraditional pay arrangement" with the dealerships and didn't steal anything from them, saying he was "100 percent not guilty."

At the 2015 sentencing in the case, Salomon called Reggie a “serial fraudster” and “flim-flam con artist.”

Reggie is the son of the late Crowley City Court Judge Edmund Reggie and a brother-in-law of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy. Reggie worked on the campaigns of President Bill Clinton and other high-profile Democrats.

Edmund Reggie headed John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign in Louisiana and was Gov. Edwin Edwards' executive counsel during Edwards' second term in office.

The elder Reggie was convicted in the latter part of his life of misapplying funds of the now-closed Acadia Savings & Loan of Crowley, a bank he founded in the late 1950s.


Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.