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A previously convicted felon pleaded guilty Monday morning to charges related to defrauding investors of the local newspaper, Loudoun Tribune, 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 the Tribune.

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, federal prosecutors said in a news release.

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, the release said.

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 Sept. 13.

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.

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