Nathan Reardon, the first Mainer charged with lying to obtain a pandemic-related business loan, pleaded guilty Tuesday to five counts of bank fraud in U.S. District Court in Bangor on the morning that jury selection for his trial was set to begin.
Reardon, 44, of Skowhegan and Plymouth had pleaded not guilty in May 2021 to five counts of bank fraud, three counts of attempted wire fraud, two counts of making false statements to a bank and one count of perjury after being indicted by a federal grand jury.
U.S. District Court Lance Walker accepted his pleas on Tuesday and found him guilty of the bank fraud charges.
Reardon obtained a $60,000 Paycheck Protection Program loan in 2020 by falsifying information about payroll for his business. Reardon, dressed in a blue jail jumpsuit, told Walker on Tuesday that he was pleading guilty because he is guilty.
In a plea agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office, all charges but the bank fraud counts will be dismissed after Reardon is sentenced later this year, according to court documents filed Saturday. Reardon waived his right to appeal his sentence to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston if it is not longer than a year and a day.
If the judge imposes a longer sentence, Reardon could file an appeal.
Reardon also is expected to be ordered to pay the government about $90,000 in restitution for the $60,000 that was approved and the $30,000 that was accidentally transferred to his bank account after a second loan of $60,000 was denied.
Reardon spent the fraudulently obtained money on personal items including a men’s 14-carat yellow gold wedding band, clothing, shaving products, toys, an LED barber pole light and a pair of caiman skin cowboy boots, a court affidavit said. Caimans are a species related to alligators found in Central and South America, according to court documents.
Jury selection in his trial on the charges was set to begin Tuesday. The courtroom was set up on Friday for jury selection and remained that way Tuesday.
The two-week-long trial was scheduled to begin July 11. Reardon had sought to have the trial continued until September but Walker denied that request last week.
The judge previously denied motions to move the trial from Bangor to Portland and to release Reardon after his bail was revoked in April of this year. He remained Sunday at the Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth.
The request to move the trial to Portland stemmed in part from the Bangor Daily News’ publication earlier this year of a series of articles about Reardon and his 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.
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. The lawsuit against the television station was dismissed last month. The lawsuit against the BDN is pending in Penobscot County Superior Court.
In addition to the federal charges, Reardon has been charged in Somerset County with Class B theft for allegedly refusing to pay $22,000 in bills for renovation work on a commercial property to plumbers, carpenters, electricians, construction workers and laborers.
The maximum penalty in that case is 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $20,000. He also could be ordered to pay restitution in that case.