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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Former EDA Director Indicted on Federal Fraud Charges

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.– A federal grand jury in Charlottesville returned an indictment last week charging the former executive director of the Economic Development Authority of the Town of Front Royal and the County of Warren, Virginia [EDA] with wire fraud, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering.

According to an indictment returned under seal last Wednesday and unsealed today, Jennifer Rae McDonald, 44, of Front Royal, Virginia, was the executive director of the EDA from April 2008 until December 2018. From June 3, 2014 to on or about December 20, 2018, McDonald devised and participated in a scheme to defraud the EDA to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises.

McDonald, through her position as executive director at the EDA, had access to funds belonging to the EDA and, as the indictment alleges, used EDA funds to pay on debt owed by her, other individuals, and LLCs she controlled, to purchase real property for which she often earned commissions as a real estate agent, and to purchase real property in the name of an LLC she controlled.

McDonald is charged with 16 counts of money laundering, 10 counts of bank fraud, seven counts of wire fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft.  The defendant made her initial court appearance today and was released pending trial.

Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel P. Bubar of the Western District of Virginia and Special Agent in Charge Stanley M. Meador of the FBI’s Richmond Division made the announcement.

The FBI and Virginia State Police are investigating the case. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Welsh is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated August 31, 2021