Nathan Reardon walks to a vehicle outside of the old Sears location at the Bangor Mall where he leases space in this April 7, 2022 file photo. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik

A Maine man accused of defrauding the federal government wants to be released from jail ahead of his trial next month, arguing that health problems give him a higher chance of catching COVID-19 and suffering more severe complications from the disease.

In a federal court filing Tuesday, the attorney for Nathan Reardon argued that his client should be released because he is obese and has Type 2 diabetes, both conditions that have been shown to make people more susceptible to contracting COVID-19.

Other medical conditions include anxiety, low testosterone, high blood pressure, asthma and lower back problems, according to the federal court filing written by Reardon attorney Hunter Tzovarras.

The medical records do not indicate if Reardon is vaccinated against COVID-19. He is being held at the Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth, which has not experienced high rates of COVID-19 infections, jail administrator Tim Richardson said. 

If he were to be released, Reardon would agree not to use the internet as a condition of that release, according to the filing.

Tuesday’s filing is Reardon’s second attempt to get out of jail after a judge found in April that he had violated his initial bail conditions and ordered him held without bail while awaiting trial on allegations that he defrauded a pandemic-era business relief program.

It’s also Reardon’s second attempt in less than a week to change the course of his case before his trial. On Monday, Reardon filed a motion to change the location of his trial from Bangor to Portland, arguing he can’t get a fair trial in Bangor due to extensive media coverage.

Reardon is charged with defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program after he allegedly obtained a $60,000 loan from the pandemic business relief program by lying about his businesses. He has pleaded not guilty.

Additionally, Reardon, who had been free on bail since April 2021, was arrested in April of this year for violating his bail and has been in jail ever since.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John C. Nivison found Reardon violated his conditions of release when he sought federal rental assistance that his bail conditions barred him from seeking without a probation officer’s approval.

Reardon appealed that decision soon after he was ordered held without bail, but U.S. District Judge Lance Walker denied his appeal. The Tuesday filing from Reardon is an appeal of that denial to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Maine, which is prosecuting Reardon’s case, plans to file a motion objecting to Reardon’s release, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Lizotte said.

Reardon’s Monday motion arguing for a change in the trial location argued that widespread media coverage of Reardon’s criminal case and his past alleged wrongdoings would prevent Reardon from having a “fair trial” in Bangor.

Prosecutors have also opposed that motion, pointing out that the coverage has come from media outlets in both the Portland and Bangor markets.

There has been coverage of Reardon since the start of his case. Of particular concern, however, was that “publicity peaked” in April 2022 and that coverage is expected to “only intensify once the trial draws closer and starts,” according to Reardon’s motion.

April is when the Bangor Daily News published a series of articles on Reardon and a struggle with Bangor city officials that led the city to condemn a portion of the Bangor Mall.

The coverage also focused on Reardon’s business practices and the nature of his sprawling business empire that includes dozens of companies, a trail of debt to nearly 100 former employees, and $100,000 in fines for labor violations in addition to the federal fraud case for alleged misuse of pandemic Paycheck Protection Program money.

The coverage highlighted Reardon’s track record as a property manager renting out apartments to tenants as well.

Reardon sued the BDN over its coverage in April, alleging defamation, and he sued another news outlet, News Center Maine, late last year.

Avatar photo

Sawyer Loftus

Sawyer Loftus is an investigative reporter at the Bangor Daily News. A graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he worked for Vermont Public Radio, The Burlington Free Press...