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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 8, 2019

Convicted Felon Arrested for Fraud Scheme Involving Local Newspaper

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A previously convicted felon was arrested last night on charges related to defrauding investors of a local newspaper, unlawful possession of firearms by a previously convicted felon, and making false statements to the FBI.

According to allegations in the indictments, Brian Thomas Reynolds, 52, of Leesburg, defrauded both investors and lenders to a company that he controlled that operates a local newspaper in Loudoun County. As alleged in that indictment, Reynolds made several materially false and fraudulent representations to actual and potential investors and lenders regarding the existence and value of advertising contracts held by the company, and created fake advertising contracts when no such agreements existed. Reynolds also allegedly made materially false and fraudulent representations regarding the company’s historical advertising revenues and the amount of money that Reynolds and others had invested in the company, falsely claimed that another individual had agreed to “match” the investments of certain investors, falsely claimed to at least one investor that the company lacked any debt, understated the amount of debt owed by the company to other investors, and materially overstated the amount of money held by the company in its bank accounts. 

The indictment further alleges that Reynolds created altered loan documentation to defraud an individual who had lent money to the company by changing the language of the loan agreement to conditions that were materially more favorable to Reynolds and his company than had actually been agreed to by the lender. According to the indictment, Reynolds also made materially false representations regarding the number of issues previously distributed by the newspaper, and falsely claimed that a prominent businessperson served on the company’s advisory board, when in fact that individual held no position on the board and played no role in the operation of the business.

A second indictment charges Reynolds, who is a convicted felon, with unlawfully possessing eight firearms and associated ammunition, and with making false statements to the FBI regarding his use of firearms.

Reynolds is charged with 11 counts of wire fraud, one count of unlawful possession of firearms by a convicted felon, and one count of making false statements. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud, a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for the unlawful possession of firearms, and a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison for making false statements. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Matthew J. DeSarno, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Burke and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell L. Carlberg are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case Nos. 1:19-cr-70 and 1:19-cr-71.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated March 8, 2019