CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. –The former Commissioner of Revenue for Greene County, Virginia, resigned from his elected position in connection with pleading guilty today in federal court to attempted witness tampering, a felony offense. His son also pleaded guilty today to a related charge of heroin distribution.
Larry Vernon Snow, 73, pleaded guilty 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 Austin Snow, 33, pleaded guilty to one related count of distributing heroin.
“The former Commissioner of Revenue for Greene County, an elected official of over 30 years, broadcast information throughout his community about a witness having assisted law enforcement authorities, all in retaliation against that witness. The Department of Justice will hold accountable those who seek to harass, intimidate, or retaliate against any federal witnesses, and I am grateful for the result that was achieved today through our investigation,” said United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh.
“Elected officials should hold themselves to a higher standard and serve their community responsibly. Mr. Snow violated the faith entrusted to him, and with his son criminally used personal information of community members for their own gain,” said Stanley M. Meador, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division. “The FBI will continue to work with our partners to investigate instances of witness tampering and are happy with today’s change in plea.”
According to court documents, Bryant Snow was arrested and charged with two state drug charges in November 2017. The state charges stem from law enforcement’s use of a confidential informant who purchased methamphetamine and heroin from Bryant Snow. On April 20, 2018, Bryant Snow pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of methamphetamine in Greene County, Virginia.
While incarcerated in Central Virginia Regional Jail (CVRJ), Bryant Snow received documents and other evidence regarding his state case. This information included video and audio of the recorded narcotics buys by the confidential informant from Bryant Snow. Bryant Snow made numerous calls from jail to his father, Larry Snow, where they 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.
On May 31, 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia notified Larry and Bryant Snow that they were targets of a federal investigation involving their conduct toward Person A. After receiving this notice, 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 harass Person A and hinder, prevent, and dissuade Person A from causing or aiding in any federal prosecutions of the Snows or others. The leaflets described how the incumbent sheriff of Greene County used “drug dealers (who are also police informants).” The leaflet stated, “Specifically, this same drug dealer” was “caught twice,” and described the purportedly lenient sentence the individual received. These comments were references to Person A, who Larry Snow knew cooperated against his son, Bryant. Larry Snow placed his name at the bottom of the leaflets to identify himself as the sender.
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, 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, Larry Snow agreed not to run for elected office during any sentence or period of court supervision.
The Snows are scheduled for sentencing on July 25, 2022 and August 1, 2022 before Senior United States District Court Judge Norman K. Moon.
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 assisted in the prosecution of the case.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Western District of Virginia