Loudoun Tribune Publisher Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Weapons Charges

Brian Thomas Reynolds, 52, of Leesburg, pleaded guilty in federal District Court on Monday to two felony charges following an investigation into allegations that he defrauded investors and lenders supporting his Loudoun Tribunenewspaper.

Reynolds pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of unlawful possession of firearms by a previously convicted felon; he had been previously convicted on federal wire fraud charges in 1996.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 Sept. 13.

According to court documents, 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. He also was accused of making materially false and fraudulent representations regarding the company’s historical advertising revenues and the amount of money that he 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 of the Loudoun Tribunethat had been distributed, 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.

According to the Department of Justice, the case was investigated as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program to bolster violent crime reduction efforts. 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.

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