AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — One year ago, Reagor-Dykes Auto Group co-founder Bart Reagor was sentenced in Amarillo Federal Court after he was found guilty in October 2021 of making false statements to a bank.
Since that sentencing, Reagor’s legal team has started the appeals process in the U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit and has self-surrendered to a facility in Louisiana. Here is a look at what has happened since the sentencing and how this case could progress in the future.
On March 10, 2022, Reagor was sentenced to 168 months, or 14 years, in federal prison after being found guilty of making false statements to a bank in an October 2021 jury trial in Amarillo Federal Court. Reagor was also found not guilty of two counts of bank fraud during the trial.
According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, Reagor was convicted of using more than $1.7 million for personal use out of a $10 million capital loan aimed at growing the auto group from the International Bank of Commerce.
During the sentencing, attendees heard from Reagor, who apologized for the “sorrow, pain, financial hardship (and the) losses” that the collapse of the Reagor-Dykes Auto Group caused. However, through his allocution, along with statements made after the hearing, Reagor maintained his innocence, stating he was going to challenge the ruling through the appeals process.
“Our family is just looking forward to the appeal,” Reagor told members of the media after the March 10 sentencing. “I know I’m innocent and we are going to win the appeal.”
Reagor’s legal team filed an appeal for the judgment on March 14, 2022. Through the initial appeal brief, filed in mid-May 2022, one of the key questions throughout the appeal was surrounding the definition of “working capital” and what the term meant to Reagor when he took distributions from the IBC Bank loan.
Officials said in the brief that there is no evidence on whether or not Reagor knew that taking distributions out of the loan went against “working capital,” a term that officials continued to stress that was not defined during the October 2021 trial. Overall, the argument centered around the idea that there is no evidence that Reagor intended to falsify information for IBC bank and that Reagor “made an error regarding the use” of the loan from the bank’s point of view.
In the prosecution’s response, filed in late June 2022, they said that the evidence in the trial was sufficient enough for the jury to find that Reagor intentionally misled IBC Bank about the purpose of the working capital loan, initially obtaining the loan to “raise capital” to grow the overall auto group.
The prosecution cited emails brought forward during the trial between Reagor and former Reagor-Dykes Auto Group Chief Financial Officer Shane Smith, stating that the uses of the loan were confidential and not anyone else’s business.
“On this evidence, a rational jury could easily have inferred that Reagor acted knowingly when he falsely told the bank that the $10 million would be used as working capital but intended to use a portion of the funds personally,” the prosecution said at the time. “This Court should affirm.”
After initial briefs, a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit heard in-person arguments from both Reagor’s team and the prosecution in early December 2022.
According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, Reagor self-surrendered to a federal prison in Oakdale, La. on May 9, 2022. If the U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit agrees with Reagor’s legal team in the case, it is expected to go back to a federal judge in Amarillo. If the appeals court agrees with the prosecution, Reagor will continue his prison sentence.
In a statement provided to MyHighPlains.com from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas, they said:
We are awaiting the court’s opinion on the appeal.Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas
John Markham, Reagor’s attorney, said in an interview with MyHighPlains.com that the appeal surrounded the decision of the judge denying a new trial motion. This came from the legal team not thinking there was evidence that Reagor knew what he was saying would not be acceptable to the bank.
Markham said they are still waiting for the court’s decision.
“I can tell you I know exactly when it’s going to be decided,” Markham said. “It’s going to be decided whenever they feel like it. There’s no restraint on the time that circuit courts of appeal have to decide something, unfortunately. So, we are just waiting for them to decide.”