Mar. 4-A federal court in Texas has scheduled a hearing to determine if Robert Brockman, the former chief executive of Kettering auto dealer services firm Reynolds & Reynolds, is competent to participate in his trial in what is perhaps the biggest tax case in U.S history.
Before that hearing, the federal government will have its own experts gauge Brockman's fitness, according to filings last month in the U.S. District Court in Houston.
Brockman is 79. In ordering the June 29 hearing, U.S. District Court Judge George Hanks wrote that "there is reasonable cause to believe that the defendant may presently be suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defense."
Attorneys for Brockman requested that the government's examination of Brockman be recorded, with cameras facing both the examiner and Brockman. The attorneys also asked for permission to be present, which Hanks granted.
A message was sent to one of Brockman's attorneys Thursday.
The defendant's motion for the hearing was unopposed, Hanks noted.
Last October, federal prosecutors in San Francisco announced that a federal grand jury had returned a 39-count indictment charging Brockman with tax evasion, wire fraud, money laundering and other alleged offenses. Brockman has pleaded not guilty to all 39 counts. The case was moved from California to Houston, where Brockman has a home.
Prosecutors have presented a portrait of Brockman operating a secret web of Caribbean business entities to conceal $2 billion in investment income, evading taxes on that income. The charges comprise what is said to be the largest prosecution of its kind in U.S. history.
It was reported last year that Swiss prosecutors froze more than $1 billion in bank accounts belonging to Brockman.
In November, Brockman stepped down as chief executive of Kettering-based auto dealer software company Reynolds & Reynolds, with then-President and Chief Operating Officer Tommy Barras assuming the CEO position.
In 2006, the then-65-year-old Brockman ran Universal Computer Systems, a Houston company he started in his living room more than three decades before, when he took over what was then a much larger competitor, Dayton-based Reynolds and Reynolds Co., in a $2.8 billion deal.
"The allegations made by the Department of Justice focus on activities Robert Brockman engaged in outside of his professional responsibilities with Reynolds & Reynolds," a spokesperson for Reynolds and Reynolds said in October when Brockman was indicted. "The company is not alleged to have engaged in any wrongdoing, and we are confident in the integrity and strength of our business."