Former car dealer Johnny Dangerfield plans to fight federal bank fraud and money laundering charges involving $3.8 million in loans obtained by automotive businesses he once owned around the state, his lawyer said.
Dangerfield, 48, pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial at his arraignment Monday in U.S. District Court in Charleston. Previously, the Moncks Corner resident has denied the allegations through a statement issued through his attorney, Lionel Lofton.
'It is our intention to go to trial,' Lofton said after Monday's hearing.
Dangerfield answered a few routine questions as he was arraigned in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant. He is free on a $50,000 unsecured bond.
A onetime infomercial fixture on local TV airwaves, Dangerfield was one of five men indicted this month by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The others are Robert George Low, 70, of Moncks Corner; Daniel James Cory Cadden, 42, of Moncks Corner; Lloyd Ray Hayes, whose age was not disclosed, of North Charleston; and Jeffrey Michael Belsky, 42, of Easley. They will be arraigned today
The government alleges that between July 2004 and February 2009, Dangerfield and his co-defendants conspired to defraud a federally insured lender, Ohio-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 May 11 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 a Subaru-Isuzu dealership in Charleston.
The defendants are alleged to have 'sold the cars and then failed to pay to the bank,' according to the indictment.
Dangerfield's case has been assigned to senior U.S. District Court Judge C. Weston Houck.
A trial date has not been set. Lofton said he does not expect a speedy resolution, based on the volume of documents that will need to be requested and reviewed.
'My guess is this case is going to be out there for a while before we can get to court,' Lofton said.
The defendants were each indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Dangerfield was indicted on an additional three counts of criminal structuring.
The conspiracy to commit bank fraud charge carries a maximum of 30 years imprisonment; the conspiracy to commit money laundering charge carries a maximum of 10 years imprisonment. The criminal structuring charges each carry a maximum of five years imprisonment.
Reach John McDermott at 937-5572.