- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A Mandeville media consultant accused of running a scheme that defrauded clients of more than $1 million over a three-year period pleaded guilty Monday to five counts of mail fraud.

Nola.comThe Times-Picayune reported (https://bit.ly/1zdWCoh) 52-year-old Raymond Reggie was charged in a superseding indictment with five counts of mail fraud. A federal grand jury in Baton Rouge indicted Reggie in August 2013 with five counts of wire fraud and six counts of money laundering.

Reggie is the former brother-in-law of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy and son of former Crowley City Judge Edmund Reggie.

The original counts were dismissed when the superseding indictment was filed, court records show. The U.S. attorney’s office said Reggie’s case had been set to go to trial in Baton Rouge Monday. He pleaded guilty without a plea agreement.

Reggie owned Nexlevel Group, an advertising firm that managed advertising for car dealerships.

Authorities said he submitted fake expenses for payment to the dealerships. Once the dealerships paid Nexlevel, authorities said Reggie diverted the money to a personal bank account.

Between January 2009 and July 2012, federal authorities said car dealerships issued Reggie’s company 138 checks totaling more than $1.2 million for advertising services they did not receive.

Reggie faces additional charges in Tammany Parish.

The St. Tammany district attorney’s office charged him with seven counts of theft over $1,500 in February 2013. The charges stem from an August 2012 arrest.

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office said at the time it had identified more than $600,000 in allegedly fake invoices for which Reggie was compensated. Investigators said Supreme Automotive Group filed a complaint alleging it hired Reggie in 2010 to place ads for dealerships in various media outlets throughout southeastern Louisiana. The group said the ads never appeared in print or on the air.

Reggie is set to go to trial on the theft charges on March 16, court records show.

For his Monday plea in the federal mail fraud case, Reggie faces prison time, fines, restitution and could be forced to forfeit any property he obtained using money from the dealerships. A sentencing date has not been set.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, https://www.nola.com

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