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. Ahmed

    hahaha this is so damn funny! I want to know why she was doing all this?

    May 11, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Abby123

    She seems like a loon and control freak.

    May 11, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rik

    What no pictures?

    May 11, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tomcrepeault

    born again republican

    May 11, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ken in NC

    The government should be embarassed at this investigation. They should be embarassed since they claim not to know why this woman did this While a simple man such as myself knows the reason behind this episode. STUPIDITY. Plain and simple STUPIDITY.

    May 11, 2010 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tina

    Man! What the heck! What made her think she was going to get away with that? It's amazing that she was actually able to hire a few people before they called her bluff.

    May 11, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. brak

    She seems like she is mentally ill.

    May 11, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. panda

    lol this was hilarious. to think that her neighbors were stupid enough to believe her..

    May 11, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sven

    Motive is most likely boredom, and or longing to be more important/have control and power. I bet there's a few folks in Langley right now reading this laughing their butts off thinking the give-away should have been when she said CIA operatives were working for her "an FBI Agent", as if the FBI would dictate to the CIA their duties... the sheer audacity.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CL


    May 11, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Andy

    And the moron quit his job. People are so damn gullible. Yeah, my next door neighbor hired me as an FBI Agent. Geez...

    May 11, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Carole Clarke

    She was probably just a federal agent wanna-be that wanted to play at being a heroic type and got carried away. It all unraveled when she was supposed to provide "action" for her new hires. Now she is on the run and could still be controlled by her compulsions. Sad.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sonique

    #11 Andy LMAO & I needed that laugh after the nasty horrible tornado's yesterday. Thnx

    May 11, 2010 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Girl Scout

    Really sorry to hear about this. I hope she is ok.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Durl

    Must be a WH cabinet member that works under Paulson.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
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