CHICAGO — Serial fraudster John Rogers, 44, officially began serving time in prison at the end of a five-hour hearing in federal court in Chicago yesterday.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin revoked the bond of the North Little Rock sports memorabilia and photo archive dealer and remanded him into the custody of U.S. Marshals until his Dec. 20 sentencing hearing.
After extensive afternoon testimony from FBI Special Agent Brian Brusokas, Durkin agreed with the U.S. prosecuting attorney that Rogers was a danger to the community.
The judge said that the danger Rogers posed wasn’t in the form of physical violence but reflected the strong likelihood that Rogers would continue to pursue financial frauds upon the public if he remained free on bond.
While the court action amounted to a probable cause hearing, Durkin said the abundance of evidence and testimony offered by federal prosecutors was more than sufficient to revoke Rogers’ bond.
“There is no magistrate here or in Arkansas who wouldn’t issue an arrest warrant based on this,” said Durkin before handing down his decision.
Until Monday's appearance, Rogers had been allowed to remain free under probationary monitoring after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud on March 6 as part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. That plea came more than three years after federal agents raided the North Little Rock business and mansion of Rogers in early 2014.
On Monday, the court heard nearly two and a half hours of testimony from Brusokas, who described what he called fraudulent activity by Rogers before and after the plea agreement.
On his biggest judicial stage to date, Rogers didn’t take the stand. His only contributions were pages of notes on legal pads and occasional conversations with his criminal defense attorney, Blake Hendrix.
Ron Rogers, the father of John Rogers, asked the court to appoint him as a third-party custodian for his son until the sentencing hearing. The elder Rogers was allowed to return to the podium after John Rogers begged Hendrix to ask the judge.
Durkin was sympathetic to the father speaking in support of and concern for his son. However, the judge indicated that only incarceration could safeguard the public from John Rogers during the next 30 days.
This prison time will be counted against the sentence imposed on Dec. 20. The sentence could exceed the 141 months sought by federal prosecutors in filings last week tied to the new criminal activity of Rogers.
Sentencing is expected to far outdistance the 60 months requested by Hendrix in his request before prosecutors filed motions to dismantle the plea deal in light of his client’s alleged violations.
According to the U.S. attorney, Rogers' fraud was accomplished in concert with two individuals in Little Rock: Amber Davis and John McLean.
Davis “was a complete schemer in this. She knew what she was doing. Rogers showed her how to commit fraud,” the prosecutor said.
Davis, a former girlfriend who provided Rogers with a place to live at her apartment, is seeking a protection order against him after an Oct. 1 incident that drew Little Rock police.
Testimony was also heard from Larry Wilson, chairman, president and CEO of First Arkansas Bank & Trust; William “Mac” Hogan, a former investor with Rogers; and Michael McAfee, court-appointed receiver of the business assets of Rogers.
McAfee testified that Rogers didn’t have the legal right to enter and remove assets from his former business in August 2015. This criminal case is still hanging over Rogers in Pulaski County Circuit Court.
Wilson and Hogan both asked that the court impose the maximum sentence under the law. Both recounted several examples of Rogers’ many frauds.
“He will have earned every minute of his sentence and more,” said Wilson, whose bank holds a $15.5 million judgment against Rogers.
"Mr. Rogers has a long-standing record of deceit and fraud,” Wilson added. “His ability to lie is better than any man I’ve met.”
Hogan said he had never met a man like Rogers before, a man who “has a complete dedication to criminal activity and the harming of others.”
“He’s sorry he got caught,” said Hogan a former
During the next 30 days, U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin will decide whether to deviate from the prosecutor’s recommended sentence of 141 months or the 60 months sought by Blake Hendrix, the criminal defense attorney for Rogers.