Dangerfield indicted for bank fraud

Johnny Dangerfield

Federal prosecutors have indicted five people in an auto dealer bank-fraud case, including the man behind a popular Suzuki empire that went bust two years ago.

John Cornelius Dangerfield -- also known as Johnny Dangerfield, 48, -- was among five people indicted for bank fraud in connection with several car dealerships around the state, including three in the greater Charleston area, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Dangerfield, of Moncks Corner, was once a fixture on the Charleston TV market, airing weekend informercials that often ran simultaneously and on different channels, pushing his lineup of cars and deals.

But the sputtering economy caught up with him, he said. When he shuttered his Suzuki and Subaru dealerships in early 2009, it left the Charleston area without any local sellers of those brands, though new dealers have since stepped in to fill the void.

The indictment announced by U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles alleges that between July 2004 and February 2009, Dangerfield and his co-defendants conspired to defraud Fifth Third Bank by making misrepresentations to auditors about the status of vehicles being sold.

Several dealerships were involved including those in Moncks Corner, Myrtle Beach and Easley. As a result, the indictment alleges, the group obtained approximately $3.8 million from Fifth Third.

The case was investigated by agents of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations unit and the FBI.