U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida
(813) 274-6000
November 17, 2015

Fort Myers Man Pleads Guilty in Check-Kiting Bank Fraud Scheme

FORT MYERS, FL—United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Roger Eugene Hagood (44, Fort Myers) today pleaded guilty to four counts of bank fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison on each count.

According to the plea agreement, Hagood operated Coral Palm Auto Sales, a used car dealership. Coral Palm Autos Sales received financing through a third-party lender to purchase automobiles. Vehicle titles were provided as security to procure the loans, and loan payments were made using proceeds from the vehicle sales. Once each loan was paid in full, the third-party lender would release the vehicle titles used to secure the loan back to Coral Palm Auto Sales.

In November and December 2011, Hagood engaged in a check-kiting scheme by writing 13 checks, totaling $1,592,121.00, on his business checking account, made payable to the third-party lender, knowing that the account lacked sufficient funds to cover the checks. As a result, the third-party lender wrote new loan checks on its account, made payable to Coral Palm Auto Sales, based on Hagood’s worthless checks. According to the plea agreement, Hagood’s scheme caused federally insured financial institutions to suffer significant financial losses.

On March 29, 2015, Hagood attempted to surreptitiously dispose of 20 banker’s boxes of records and documents pertaining to Coral Palm Auto Sales by throwing them in a dumpster located about a mile and a half from his residence. A video surveillance camera partially captured Hagood attempting to dispose of the boxes. These boxes were retrieved by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and turned over to the FBI. A portion of the records and documents Hagood tried to destroy were responsive to a federal subpoena previously served on him on March 24, 2015.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey F. Michelland.

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