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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 10, 2019

Convicted Felon Pleads Guilty to Fraud Scheme Involving Local Newspaper

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A previously convicted felon pleaded guilty this morning to charges related to defrauding investors of a local newspaper and unlawful possession of firearms by a previously convicted felon.

According to court documents, 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. 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 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, and materially overstated the amount of money held by the company in its bank accounts. 

Court documents also state 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. 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.

Reynolds, who has four prior felony convictions and is prohibited from possessing firearms, also pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing seven firearms and associated ammunition.

Reynolds pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of unlawful possession of firearms by a previously convicted felon. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the wire fraud count and a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for the firearms count when sentenced on September 13. 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 Charles Dayoub, Acting 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.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated June 10, 2019