Ex-tax lawyer admits fraud

Published 9:24 pm Monday, June 3, 2013

A former tax attorney in Suffolk has pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud.

Brian Ray Dinning, formerly of Suffolk, could be sentenced to as many as 30 years in prison on the bank fraud charge and up to 20 years in prison on the wire fraud charge. He will be sentenced Oct. 2, according to U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride, who announced on Monday that Dinning’s guilty plea had been accepted by U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson.

According to a release from MacBride’s office, Dinning had defrauded investors of more than $2.5 million between 2005 and 2012 by promising them guaranteed returns on “investment-opportunities” in South Africa.

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Dinning solicited investments for purported land developments, gold- and diamond-mining operations and charitable work for tribes in South Africa, MacBride explained.

“Dinning’s bank records reveal that shortly after the investment checks and wires were deposited into one of his LLC bank accounts, Dinning would immediately use the money to pay for personal expenses, such as a down-payment and subsequent mortgage payments on his new home; alimony/child support payments to his ex-wife; payments for credit card balances; payments to disgruntled former investors; and payments to his wife and family members,” MacBride stated.

After traveling with Dinning to South Africa to evaluate their investments, MacBride added, several investors realized they were being defrauded and either asked for a return of their investment or filed lawsuits against him. After losing or settling several lawsuits, as well as his house in Suffolk, Dinning left the area, but he continued to recruit new fraud victims from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Canada and Europe, according to MacBride.

Dinning learned of an investigation into the fraudulent activities in 2012 and fled to Toronto, Canada, with his wife. He was indicted in June 2012 on 25 counts of wire fraud.

In September, he was indicted for defrauding Village Bank in Midlothian during 2005 and 2007 by falsifying documents used to secure a mortgage and a car loan, MacBride stated in the press release. The bank eventually lost about $223,000 on the two fraudulently obtained loans.

Dinning was extradited from Canada in 2012.