Virginia Attorney Charged in South African Ponzi Scheme
NORFOLK, Va. – Brian Ray Dinning, 47, of Toronto, Canada, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on wire fraud charges.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after the indictment was returned by the grand jury. Dinning has been charged with 25 counts of wire fraud, which each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, if convicted.
According to the indictment, Dinning was a graduate of Regent University Law School and also obtained an LL.M in tax from the Georgetown University Law Center. From early 2005 until the present, Dinning allegedly recruited approximately 23 individuals to invest in his numerous “for-profit” corporations that he had established. He did this by falsely advising investors that they would accrue significant financial gains from South African projects, such as a luxury Oceanside housing development, a luxury Oceanside hotel and private residence club, as well as diamond and gold mining operations. The indictment alleges that Dinning also used “not-for-profit” corporations to obtain donations purportedly for charitable, environmental, agricultural medical and community projects for the tribal people of South Africa, as well as developing wildlife habitats for native African species.
Regardless of whether his investors made investments for profit or donations for charitable causes to Dinning’s various corporations, upon receipt of these funds from his investors, Dinning is alleged to have immediately used their money for personal and family gain, for payment of his and his family’s expenses, for payment of alimony and child support to his ex-wife, for payment of private school tuition for his children, and to make the down payment and subsequent mortgage payments on his new $975,000 home in Suffolk. As a result, Dinning allegedly obtained more than $2.9 million from his investors, of which he retained more than $2 million for his and his family’s benefit.
This case was investigated by the Norfolk Division of the FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Steve Haynie is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.