A Leesburg man is accused of fraud scheme involving a newspaper in Loudoun County, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Brian Thomas Reynolds, 52, is charged with 11 counts of wire fraud, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and one count of making false statements to the FBI, said Joshua Stueve, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Reynolds was arrested Friday morning.
According to allegations in the indictments, Reynolds allegedly lied to investors and lenders about the existence and value of advertising contracts held by a newspaper company.
In announcing the arrest, prosecutors did not name the publication at the center of the fraud charges, but Reynolds is president of Tribune Media Group LLC and publisher of The Loudoun Tribune. The Loudoun Tribune lists a Sterling address on its website and claims to be “Loudoun’s largest circulated and mail free newspaper in print.” The newspaper was started in 2016.
If convicted, Reynolds faces up to 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud and up to 15 years for the other charges, Stueve said.
Reynolds also allegedly 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, Stueve said.
He also falsely claimed that another individual had agreed to “match” certain investors, falsely claimed to at least one investor that the company lacked any debt, understated the amount of debt owed by the company to other investors, and materially overstated the amount of money held by the company in its bank accounts, Stueve said, citing the indictment.
Reynolds also allegedly altered loan documents to defraud an individual who had loaned money to the company
He also allegedly misrepresented the number of newspaper issues distributed and falsely claimed that a prominent businessperson served on the company’s advisory board.
A second indictment charges Reynolds, who is a convicted felon, with unlawfully possessing eight firearms and associated ammunition, and with making false statements to the FBI regarding his use of firearms, Stueve said.