May 11th, 2010
08:22 PM ET

Feds: Woman admits impersonating FBI exec, hiring

A 29-year old woman who lived in Arlington, Virginia, last year admits she falsely claimed to be an FBI executive, even hiring neighbors as employees as she carried out her strange hoax for months, according to court documents released Tuesday.

Brenna Marie Reilly pleaded guilty in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, to impersonating an FBI employee, which could land her up to three years in prison.

According to court documents, last August Reilly began to claim to several neighbors in Arlington that she was an assistant director of the FBI, and director of the bureau's forensic division.

By November she said she was looking to hire two assistants. Two neighbors filled out what appeared to them to be genuine FBI forms and were told they were hired. One even quit his job to work for the FBI, the court affidavit said. Although she provided gifts, Reilly never did pay the employees, according to the court document.

"Some of the duties involved transcribing interrogations supposedly conducted by Reilly," the court document said. "Other duties included editing condolence letters to the families of CIA officers who died in the January bombing in Afghanistan; Reilly claimed the CIA officers were working for her," the affidavit, which was filed in March, said.

A suspicious parent of one of the "employees" contacted the real FBI after the "employee" - described in the affidavit as a victim - was told he would be taken by Reilly to Germany and then Iraq on FBI business, according to the document.

Reilly met the victim at his parents' home in New Jersey purportedly to pick him up for the trip. But the man subsequently contacted his parents and told them he had never left the country.

Instead, according to affidavit, he had stayed at Reilly's apartment and then at a hotel "all under the threat that if he were to contact and tell anybody that he was actually in the United States, Reilly would terminate his employment."

Reilly was not seen in Arlington after early February, according to the affidavit, and had her mail forwarded to her parents' home in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

The episode left some officials scratching their heads. Nothing in the court documents or in the courtroom dealt with Reilly's motive.

"We don't have any information regarding a motive," said Peter Carr, the spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Alexandria. "It was never clear why she did this," Carr said.

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Filed under: Justice • U.S. • Uncategorized
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Cat

    @CNN: One word: PROOFREADER. Get one.

    May 12, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mel

    Reminds me of Russell Crowe in the movie "A Beautiful Mind"

    May 12, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. LALA

    I know her... she worked at Baystate Health in Springfield as an admin assistant for the information services department.

    May 13, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Monica Peters

    I was a victim of her also. I became her friend, not knowing anything about her history. She was a very warm and caring person, or so I thought. She claimed to be a social worker who would help me with a lengthy court battle. I felt so grateful to have met her. We had long phone conversations. SHE IS BRILILANT and is an effective liar. I truly thought she was a travelling social worker. She failed to show up to my court hearing, and I got worried. She ignored my calls. Then I google searched her thinking there was a car accident. What I found was shocking and devastating. I trusted her and really truly liked her, or the person I thought was her 😦

    May 24, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
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