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Press Release

Big Stone Gap Man Indicted on Fraud Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Michael Riebe formerly Owned Holding Funeral Home in Russell County

Abingdon, VIRGINIA – A Big Stone Gap man was indicted last week by a federal grand jury sitting in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Abingdon on wire and mail fraud charges, Acting United States Attorney Rick A. Mountcastle announced.


Michael Paul Riebe, 30, of Big Stone Gap, Va., was indicted last week on five counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud.


According to the indictment, Riebe's company purchased property located at 18182 U.S. Highway 58 in Castlewood, Virginia, in October 2013, for a price of $470,500. Riebe's company used that property as a funeral home. In November 2013, Riebe obtained insurance coverage on the property for up to $850,000. In October 2014, that insurance was increased to $1,200,000.


In the early morning hours of October 22, 2014, the Russell County Sheriff’s Office received a report that the funeral home located at 18182 U.S. Highway 58 in Castlewood was on fire.


The indictment alleges that Riebe made, via electronic and mail submissions, claims for reimbursement from his insurance provider for personal and business losses as a result of the fire for items that were not actually destroyed in the fire.


The investigation of the case was conducted by the Russell County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Russell County Commonwealth’s Attorney and Special Assistant United States Attorney Brian Patton will prosecute the case for the United States.


A Grand Jury Indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated May 1, 2017