AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The meat of the Bart Reagor Jury Trial began Tuesday morning with opening statements from both the prosecution and the defense as well as three witnesses involved with the International Bank of Commerce (IBC), the entity from which the Reagor Dykes Auto Group (RDAG) received a $10 million working capital loan.
According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, Reagor is facing two counts of bank fraud and one count of making false statements to a bank. Reagor pleaded not guilty to the counts in an Amarillo Federal Court appearance in April.
This comes after Monday’s marathon jury selection day, where court officials, along with the prosecution and the defense, took nearly nine hours to seat a 12-person jury and two alternates. Because of the length of that process, officials made the decision to move opening statements to Tuesday morning.
Officials from both the prosecution and the defense each received 30 minutes for their initial opening statements to the jury, outlining their respective sides of the case.
U.S. Attorney Joshua Frausto stated in his opening statement to the jury that Reagor had a plan that he wanted to keep secret, taking $1,766,277.77 out of a capital loan from IBC bank and using it for personal gain after RDAG officials told the bank that it was solely to be used for the auto group’s growth.
Frausto referenced an email from Reagor in May 2017 to former RDAG Chief Financial Officer Shane Smith and RDAG co-owner Rick Dykes that the way the auto group was going to manage this capital was planned to be “100,000,000% confidential,” and not anyone’s business, including the bank’s.
Frausto outlined an initial meeting which IBC officials had with RDAG representatives in April 2017 where RDAG outlined what the loan would be used for, coming after the auto group’s rapid growth. The prosecution claims that RDAG officials stated no intention to direct some of the loan to cover personal expenses, stating that Reagor used funds for his “personal mansion on 19th Street” and not for business. Officials with the prosecution stated that IBC would not have provided RDAG with the loan if they had known the intention of the company to use parts of the funds for personal use.
After the prosecution made its opening statement, the defense took the stand with Dan Cogdell presenting. In this statement, Cogdell said there was no crime committed on Reagor’s end, stating that Reagor “always believed he could use the funds exactly how he did.”
At the start of his statement, Cogdell gave Reagor’s background, stating he was from “humble beginnings,” establishing a “working class” background himself. Cogdell alleged that Reagor relied heavily on Smith’s financial background, trusting Smith “like a brother,” but eventually becoming a “Judas”-like figure.
Cogdell stressed multiple times that Smith handled the negotiations and conversations with IBC bank, advising Reagor on what he could and could not do on the financial side of things.
With Smith being scheduled to testify for the prosecution in this case, Cogdell used some time in his opening statement to undermine Smith’s credibility, stating that he is testifying solely to reduce his sentencing in his own case. According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, Smith was charged with fraud in Amarillo federal court in June 2019, accepting a plea deal which could land Smith in prison for approximately 20 years.
Cogdell claimed that Smith has manipulated his statements surrounding his case numerous times, depending on what the prosecution needs, stating that he will “come in and say whatever pleases the prosecution the best.”
“Just as today is Tuesday, (Smith) is a liar,” Cogdell told the jury.
Cogdell stressed to the jury that Reagor was not involved in the loan agreement, trusting Smith with that responsibility. While Reagor was the chief executive officer of RDAG, Cogdell claims that he did not know Smith’s intentions, proving that Reagor is not guilty on all counts posed by the prosecution.
For more information regarding the witnesses the prosecution brought forward during the trial, including the potential appearance of Smith in Amarillo Federal Court, visit MyHighPlains.com Tuesday evening.
This story is developing. Check with MyHighPlains.com for updates