Howie Lavin pleads guilty to major check kiting scheme

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A local car dealer who pleaded guilty to bank fraud for his role in a major check kiting scheme will be sentenced in a federal courthouse in Florence on Tuesday.

Back in December, former Myrtle Beach car dealer Howie Lavin stood before a federal magistrate and pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud.

Howie Lavin was indicted in September on charges he ran a lucrative check kiting scheme for nearly a decade.  It's a case that could involve the biggest instance of financial fraud in Myrtle Beach history.

Crescom Bank and Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union say Lavin stole more than $8 million over a period of years  by inflating his account balance through the use of bad checks. Lavin is being asked to repay that money, and he's also facing 30 years in federal prison. That sentence could be modified once prosecutors consider all the facts in the case.

Lavin said in court that today's plea means the beginning of the end of a long journey. He said that he hurt a lot of people, and he's sorry for it.

Despite the sentencing guidelines, under the plea deal, Lavin's attorney has asked for less than 10 years.  A judge will make the final decision.

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