Judge Sets $50,000 Bond for John Rogers

Judge Sets $50,000 Bond for John Rogers
John Rogers, a booking photo from Dec. 3, 2015. (Pulaski County Detention Center)

The conditions for the jail release of alleged serial fraudster John Rogers were set this morning at a bond hearing in North Little Rock District Court.

Rogers must post a $50,000 bond, surrender his passport, wear a monitoring ankle bracelet and return a missing hard drive he allegedly stole in August. 

The 42-year-old North Little Rock businessman has been held in the Pulaski County Detention Facility in Little Rock since his arrest on Thursday on felony charges of burglary and theft of property.

His criminal defense lawyer, Blake Hendrix, entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Rogers who appeared in court via video feed. The case is set for hearing on Jan. 20.

North Little Rock police recovered two of the three 5-terabyte hard drives containing more than one million scanned photographs with metadata that he allegedly stole from his former Sports Cards Plus office at 115 E. 24th St.

"Our position is he was authorized to be there," Hendrix told the court.

The value of the digital images on the hard drives was estimated at $364,167.

Along with two of the allegedly stolen hard drives, police found his passport, $4,700 of cash and a bunch of clothes in the vehicle Rogers was driving at the time of his arrest.

The fallen sports memorabilia and photo archive dealer was labeled a "huge flight risk" by North Little Rock prosecuting attorney Katie Smith.

In addition to the combination of items found during his arrest, Rogers' interaction with North Little Rock police was described as deceptive.

Police records indicate that Rogers twice failed to give his correct local address and he turned over three hard drives that weren't the ones he took.

Smith also noted that Rogers got the security key to enter the building from his ex-wife's key ring through one of his sons and told police he was there to retrieve allergy medicine for one of his sons, medicine that had never been kept at the office before. 

She noted his suspicious choice to wear a sweat shirt in August, which he used to conceal the hard drives from security cameras as he exited, and his decision to park a block away from the office, captured by the security camera, instead of in front of the building.

Speaking on behalf of Rogers were his parents, Ron and Mary Rogers of Bentonville, and his teenaged daughter, Lexie.

"He has carried a passport for an ID for years," his mother said. The $4,700 was given to him in cash during Thanksgiving as a loan from them because he doesn't have a bank account, Ron and Mary Rogers told the court.

First Arkansas Bank & Trust of Jacksonville has swept all of their son's bank accounts while trying to recover money on a $15 million judgment against John Rogers.

Mary Rogers speculated that the large amount of clothes in the vehicle were likely dirty ones piled in during his Thanksgiving visit and that it wasn't uncommon for him to clutter his vehicle with clothes.

Judge Jim Hamilton noted that it might be normal for someone like John Rogers to have a passport, $4,700 in cash and a vehicle full of clothes, but it's not normal for someone in his situation.

Rogers asked the judge if the proposed terms of his release would prevent him from traveling to New York, where he said he had three consulting deals.

"It would restrict you from leaving the state of Arkansas," Hamilton said.

"Oh, gosh," Rogers said.

Hendrix had asked for $25,000 bond, and Smith had sought $500,000.

"I know he's not trying to flee," Ron Rogers said. "He wouldn't leave his kids."

Lexie Rogers said she sees her father two or three times a week. "He always makes time for us," she said.

During the hearing, police learned that Rogers was staying in a rented house in the Hillcrest area of Little Rock. His father turned a key to the apartment over to the court.

Rogers remains under federal investigation for bank fraud and counterfeit sports memorabilia tied to $50 million in creditor-investor claims.

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