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Case Number: 3:19-cr-00018-NKM-JCH
Judge: Norman K. Moon
Court: United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia (Albemarle County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office
Description: Charlottesville, West Virginia criminal law lawyer represented defendant charged with witness tampering.
Larry Vernon Snow, 73, of Ruckersville, Va., pleaded guilty in May 2022 to one count of attempted witness tampering related to his efforts to harass and dissuade a confidential informant from cooperating in a federal investigation of both himself and his son, as well as to prevent the confidential informant from aiding law enforcement in other investigations. Bryant Snow, 33, pleaded guilty in May to one count of distribution of heroin. He was sentenced last week to approximately 23 months in prison.
“This public official abused his access to Virginians’ personal information, and he did so to retaliate against a witness who helped law enforcement catch his son distributing narcotics in the same community the defendant was supposed to serve. The Department of Justice will hold accountable public officials who exploit their positions of trust and anyone who seeks to harass, intimidate, or retaliate against federal witnesses," United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said today.
“The residents of Greene County deserve to have faith and confidence in the public servants elected to office. Mr. Snow disregarded his oath and duties as a public-servant and began a personal vendetta against the person who cooperated in a law enforcement matter, and willingly involved the community in his campaign to hinder an investigation,” said Stanley Meador, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division. “The FBI is pleased with today’s sentencing and encourages anyone who suspects witness tampering may be occurring to report it to authorities immediately.”
Larry Snow used his access as the former Commissioner of Revenue to a Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database as part of an effort to retaliate against and tamper with the confidential informant, Person A, after Person A aided law enforcement in controlled purchases of methamphetamine and heroin from Bryant Snow.
Specifically, while incarcerated in Central Virginia Regional Jail (CVRJ), Bryant Snow received documents and other evidence regarding his state case. This information included paperwork that showed license plate numbers belonging to Person A and Person A’s mother. In a series of recorded jail calls following his plea and sentencing to the state methamphetamine charge, the Snows agreed that Larry Snow would use his DMV access to print out “paperwork to corroborate” Person A’s confidential informant status so that Bryant would have “proof” in jail to show other inmates.
In the recorded jail calls, the Snows discussed their animosity towards confidential informants generally and Person A specifically. For example, Larry Snow stated to Bryant in one call that “[Person A]’s gonna get his, I promise you that.” Larry Snow then stated they should let “everybody know all about it” and “who he is, what he’s doing,” in reference to Person A’s cooperation. After Larry Snow mailed the DMV paperwork to Bryant at CVRJ and Bryant told Larry that he “showed it to a lot of people in here,” Larry Snow expressed approval that they were letting drug traffickers know who Person A “is and what he’s doing” so that his cooperation would “come back and bite him in the ass.”
Later, after receiving a May 2019 notice that he was under federal investigation involving his conduct toward Person A, Larry Snow drafted and caused approximately 12,000 leaflets to be mailed in October 2019 to the residents of Greene County in an attempt to further harass Person A and hinder, prevent, and dissuade Person A from causing or aiding in any federal prosecutions of the Snows or others. In recorded jail calls following the distribution of the leaflets, Bryant Snow and Larry Snow discussed the known “drug dealer” in the leaflet and confirmed it was Person A. Larry Snow concluded the call by stating, “it’s out there now” because information about Person A’s cooperation with law enforcement had been disseminated in the county via the leaflets.
In connection with entering his guilty plea earlier this year, Larry Snow resigned from his elected position as the Commissioner of Revenue in Greene County, a position he has held since 1987 and had been re-elected to while under federal indictment. As part of the plea agreement and a condition of his imposed sentence, Larry Snow agreed not to run for elected office during his sentence or period of court supervision.
At sentencing, Judge Norman K. Moon explained what factors were significant in his decision to impose a prison sentence. Judge Moon found that Larry Snow had abused his position of trust, endangered a government informant, and continued to do so even after receiving notice of a pending federal investigation. Judge Moon remarked that Larry Snow had shown “disdain for law enforcement and those that work with law enforcement.” Judge Moon also rejected the defendant’s request to serve his sentence on home confinement and found that “incarceration is necessary” to reflect the seriousness of the misconduct and “promote respect for the law.”
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
Assistant United States Attorney Katie Burroughs Medearis and Ryan S. Faulconer, Senior Counsel with the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, are prosecuting the case for the United States. Former Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn Rumsey and Assistant United States Attorney S. Cagle Juhan assisted in the prosecution of the case.
Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 3 months in prison, followed by 1 year of supervised release, assessed $100 and fined %7,500.00.