Baltimore County man wanted for his role in a $50 million fraud scam is found dead

Remains discovered near Loch Raven Reservoir
Posted at 6:19 PM, Jan 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-20 20:29:05-05

Federal officials say Brain Wallen played a key role in a shady and sophisticated scam that ripped off thousands of businesses over seven years. 

The 52-year-old oversaw the workers based out of a Reisterstown location.  Telemarketers would call businesses up, then ship boxes of light bulbs and cleaning supplies that were never ordered.

"And then they would bill them many times the value of those light bulbs and cleaning supplies and would continue sending them and continue trying to collect, even though the companies haven't placed any orders," U.S. Attorney for Maryland, Rod Rosenstein said in May.

Large corporations, churches, schools and even homeless shelters were tricked out of $50-million. 

The fraud was shut down, but Wallen suddenly vanished before he could be charged.  At the end of April, Baltimore County Police found a suicide note inside his Lutherville home, and his jeep was found abandoned not far away near Loch Raven Reservoir.

"Based upon the note, we have reason to believe that his disappearance was connected to the criminal investigation," Rosenstein said.

An intense search was done, but investigators didn't find any signs of Wallen.

"Mister Wallen, we believe is out there, we believe he is attempting to evade law enforcement," Assistant Special Agent in Charge of FBI Baltimore, Scott Hinkley said in September.

To try and track Wallen down, the FBI put up billboards in September along I-95.  They ran from Baltimore down to Miami, Florida.  But there was still no trace of the con-man.          

Until last weekend.

"Sunday there were some hikers out by the Loch Raven Reservoir and they found remains in that area, those remains did turn out to be Brian Wallen," Baltimore County Police Officer Jennifer Peach said.

The gruesome discovery was made about a mile from where Wallen ditched his jeep nearly nine-months ago.  Investigators think his body has been out there the entire time.

"We don't have any reason to believe that there was any foul play,” said Peach.  “Everything looks like it was a suicide."       

The medical examiner still needs to rule the official cause and manner of Wallen's death.

Seven other people were arrested for the elaborate telemarketing and mail scheme.