North Myrtle Beach Car Dealer Sentenced
COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Harry Lavin, III, a/k/a “Howie Lavin,” age 53, of LITTLE RIVER, South Carolina has been sentenced in federal court in Florence, South Carolina, for Bank Fraud, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344. Chief United States District Judge R. Bryan Harwell of Florence sentenced Lavin to 78 months’ imprisonment, five years’ supervised release and restitution of $8,529,285.86.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Lavin operated a car dealership in North Myrtle Beach, SC, called Lavin Sales, Inc. He also established The Car Group, Inc. to purchase vehicles which were then sold by Lavin Sales, Inc. Lavin maintained multiple accounts at CresCom Bank and Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union. From 2001 to May 2012, Lavin was involved in a check kiting scheme in which he deposited checks drawn on one of his bank accounts into another bank account knowing there were insufficient funds to cover the check. This artificially inflated the balance in the checking account at the bank receiving the check because the bank gave immediate credit on deposits. Lavin then wrote checks on the second account to obtain funds. The check kiting scheme was discovered in May 2012, at which time CresCom Bank and Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union had each lost more than $4,000,000.00.
The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney William E. Day II prosecuted the case.