Local car dealer Johnny Dangerfield pleaded not guilty today to federal bank fraud charges involving $3.8 million in loans obtained by six automobile businesses he owned around the state.
He also requested a jury trial.
Dangerfield 48, of Moncks Corner, answered a few routine questions as he was being arraigned in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant.
He is free on a $50,000 unsecured bond and agreed to surrender his passport.
A onetime TV infomercial fixture on local airwaves, Dangerfield was one of five men indicted in the case this month by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The government alleges that between July 2004 and February 2009, Dangerfield and his co-defendants conspired to defraud a lender, Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank, by falsifying documents and making other misrepresentations to auditors about the status of about 190 vehicles that were to be sold.
Dangerfield was identified in the indictment as the owner of four Suzuki dealerships in Moncks Corner, Summerville, Myrtle Beach and Easley during the time of the alleged conspiracy. He also owned a Pontiac-Buick-GMC dealership in Easley and another Subaru-Isuzu dealership in Charleston.
The defendants are alleged to have “sold the cars and then failed to pay to the bank,” the indictment said.
Defense attorney Lionel Lofton accompanied Dangerfield in court today. In a statement issued by Lofton on May 12. Dangerfield “vehemently” denied the allegations.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge C. Weston Houck.
A trial date has not been set.