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. Frank

    Hey, a female James Bond. The male James Bond was always portrayed; handsome-good looking, tall, dashing, could jump from a speeding locomotive, car or even from an airplane. Hollywood, are you flying some one out to Arlington?

    May 12, 2010 at 3:33 am | Report abuse |
  2. Lou

    Mulder, I'm down here in the basement (of the FBI Building), in the cluttered office with all the pictures of "ET" – don'cha' believe it?
    I wanna' believe!!!

    May 12, 2010 at 3:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. E.T.

    Ok, someone please write a comic book or make a movie out of this story. That freaking Don Quixote was getting a little old. LMAO. Lovely story. Great topic of conversation for years to come!!

    May 12, 2010 at 4:15 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mojo

    Perhaps she thought she worked for ACORN too? If I had to guess though she may have just been lonely with a touch of crazy.

    May 12, 2010 at 4:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. Tamra

    omg this is funny but sad. sad because the persons "hired" could have easily checked the FBI's web site for hiring criteria and process then realized, hmmm something's not right esp. before quitting a real job.

    and FBI's starting salary's are usually ~$50K so I'm wondering if the crazy woman offered the neighbors more or less to cover her scheme. HA!

    but the CIA ops killed were working for her?? O.M.G. funny but sick, truly sick. just goes to show how desperate the other folks were to believe her.

    orrrrr maybe she was deep, deep FBI undercover, see, and she couldn't divulge all the details, see, and then she had an affair with a CIA member who then exposed her, see, and then a fake arrest had to be made to free her to go after the rogue CIA guy who's now on the run in Dubai. yeah, um that's the ticket. see, it was all to keep us safe. 😉

    May 12, 2010 at 4:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. spike in conshohocken pa

    First Jihad Jane, and now this.

    Clearly, the ladies of America are watching to much TV.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:31 am | Report abuse |
  7. Elizabeth

    Hahahaha I think this is really funny. This all sounds like a big joke or a game. The one guy quit his job, but never got a paycheck? HAHAHAHAHA. The BEST part is where the guy's parents called the FBI to check up on the story. OMG – I feel badly that this lady broke the law – she might not have even realized how serious her actions were – but this whole thing is so funny – I don't think she should be punished at all – the people who fell for it learned a good lesson – they're way too gullible and they got off easy this time ;p

    May 12, 2010 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. Terry

    I am a member of the House of Representatives. My daily functions are to do nothing, spend tax payer's money, take junkets to wonderful foreign locations, and of course hire staff will the millions of dollars provided with my elected office. I find this whole matter unthinkable. Can you imagine someone creating such a hoax?

    May 12, 2010 at 7:10 am | Report abuse |
  9. BillShut

    So how long before the idiot neighbors sue the government for "back pay"??

    May 12, 2010 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
  10. warsteiner

    What a nut she needs a drug test sounds like crack to me.

    May 12, 2010 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. Apple7

    Ever watch " A Beautiful Mind" This lady was whacked..

    May 12, 2010 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. DB

    So the "victim's" mom called BS on this? Sounds like the "victim" isn't too bright. Or maybe he's been watching 24 and he's a Jack Bauer wannabe. Did they ever go through training? Were they issued badges?
    What's the victim's name? I have a bridge in Brooklyn he may be interested in buying.

    May 12, 2010 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jennifer Irvine

    You know why they haven't figured out a motive? There is no motive, she is a nut!! Just like people who blow up themselves and others for God.....they are Nuts! Bottom line, can't reason with crazy people, when are we going to use some common sense here.

    May 12, 2010 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  14. Interesting

    CNN please hire a proof reader. "Feds: Woman posing as FBI official hired workes"

    May 12, 2010 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  15. Manny HM

    This is true for everything that involves human transactions. Just like Madoff Ponzi scheme which never could have happened had this advice been seriously appled.

    May 12, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
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