Longtime Fort Smith car dealer and business man Randy Blythe has been found guilty of three counts of bankruptcy fraud and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
A jury issued the verdict Thursday (Nov. 20) in a case presided over in Fort Smith by U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III (Western District of Arkansas).
According to Connor Eldridge, the U.S. Prosecuting Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, the jury during the four-day trial heard from 19 witnesses and reviewed 65 exhibits in the case.
“Fraud, to include federal bankruptcy fraud, is shameful, and will not be tolerated in the Western District of Arkansas. We remain committed to investigating and prosecuting those who perpetuate fraud, swindle others out of money, and engage in financial crimes. People who use the bankruptcy system to swindle and steal from others tarnish the system and do a disservice to the honest petitioners seeking a second chance,” Eldridge said in a statement.
Evidence at the trial alleged that beginning in September 2008 through July, 2009, Blythe, in contemplation of a bankruptcy case, knowingly and fraudulently transferred property belonging to himself, including six collector automobiles and more than $150,000 in checks, to his mother’s company, Classic Cars of Northwest Arkansas. Such actions served to conceal assets and money from creditors and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Blythe also fraudulently submitted a Statement of Financial Affairs in which he omitted those transfers and income.
Blythe, 58, who was convicted of 21 counts of bank fraud in 2011, was also convicted of being a felon in possession of 11 collectible firearms. Blythe was originally indicted by a federal grand jury on March 19, 2014.
Blythe’s sentence will be determined by the court at a later date after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record (if any), the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violations. The sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases will be less than the maximum.
In this case, Blythe faces a sentence of not more than 5 years in prison or not more than a $250,000 fine, or both on each charge for counts one, two, and three. For count four, the maximum penalty is not more than 10 years, not more than a $250,000 fine, or both.