A Chantilly man was arrested last week by the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office and charged with 11 financial crimes. He is James Robert "Bob" McClendon Jr., 49, of the Sutton Oaks community.
According to the sheriff's office, he is accused of "forging signatures on three, separate promisary notes to receive money from a Loudoun business. He is said to have received $250,000 as a result of the forged promissary notes."
Authorities say McClendon — who was an assistant freshman football coach last year at Centreville High, but doesn't coach there this year — worked for a Fairfax County company. Part of his duties was to solicit investors for multiple projects.
One of these projects was the field house that would have been built in a public/private partnership agreement with the Fairfax County Park Authority and was to have been located next to the new Cub Run Rec Center. The others were the management of two fields in Herndon used by Northern Virginia youth sports organizations mainly for football, lacrosse and field hockey.
In connection with the investment soliciting, says the sheriff's office, McClendon is accused of allegedly "forging other shareholders' names to obtain the money under false pretenses for his own purposes."
Fairfax County police are still investigating their portion of the case. But last Tuesday, Oct. 5, the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office charged McClendon with seven counts of forgery and uttering (passing a phony document as valid), three counts of obtaining money by false pretenses and one count of money laundering.
McClendon reportedly received the money from a Virginia Run man whom Centre View will call "A." One of the people whose signature was allegedly forged, and who formerly lived in Centreville, will be called "B." Centre View is not revealing their identities because they're alleged victims.
But both wanted others to know what happened to them. Said B: "We're making it public so someone else won't fall victim to [McClendon]." Person A knew McClendon about 10 years; B knew him since they coached youth sports together in 1997.
"In the fall of 2002, Bob brought to me the business opportunity of Landmark Sports & Entertainment," said A. "It involved the old [Washington] Redskins Park site, but the lease was with Word of Grace Christian Center. It also involved the field house."
Person A said McClendon offered him a piece of the ownership of Landmark in which McClendon and B were partners. "[McClendon] needed investment money," said A. "We were trying to raise money to grow the business," explained B.
"I was offered a percentage of the company for a certain dollar amount, but neither the percentage nor the dollar amount were ever finalized," said A. Last fall, he said, he and McClendon spent many hours trying to work out the ownership details.
"In September , Bob came to me and said he really needed some money for the field house project to keep it rolling along," said A. "So I said I'd give him a loan."
(The field house was to have contained facilities for a variety of sports — including indoor track and field — plus large-scale events such as conventions and graduations. But this summer, the partnership agreement was dissolved).
The loan to McClendon was for $250,000, and B said it was hoped that the ownership details could be worked out so this money could eventually "transition into an investment with Landmark Sports & Entertainment."
Naturally, with a quarter of a million dollars involved, person A required McClendon to sign a promissary note with all the Landmark principals — including B — agreeing to repay the loan, with interest, by Dec. 31, 2003. Said A: "[McClendon] took the note and came back, the next day, with the signatures of the three principals, including himself."
But the deadline passed with no repayment, said A. Then in mid-February of this year, McClendon resigned as a principal with Landmark. Said B: "The day after Bob's resignation, I called [A] to tell him that Bob was no longer authorized to make any decisions or representations on behalf of Landmark."
Person A then confronted McClendon with this information and demanded his money back immediately. "Twenty-four hours later, Bob presented me with another [allegedly] false document from a West Coast businessman, promising to repay the loan within three business days," said A.
"After four or five business days, I called the West Coast businessman — who had no idea who I was, or what I was talking about," continued A. "And I learned that that document was [reportedly] forged, too."
Finally, on March 9 or 10, persons A and B compared notes about McClendon and the whole situation. "[A] showed me this document that I was not aware of — with signatures that weren't mine or the other principals'," said B. "[McClendon] had told me that he and [A] were close and it was a personal loan."
Then, said B, "We decided it was time to go to the authorities in Loudoun." A and B did so on March 15; although A lives in Fairfax County, the premises of his Loudoun County business were where McClendon gave him the promissary notes.
"From there, B and I met with Bob to see if we could work out possible restitution details, before calling the Fairfax County police, too," said A. But no satisfactory solution was able to be reached and, a couple months later, A and B notified Fairfax County authorities, as well. Fairfax is still investigating and has not charged McClendon with anything.
Meanwhile, both A and B are mystified about McClendon's actions. Said B: "We have not validated or verified what caused him to [allegedly] do this."
Loudoun County investigated between March and October, finally bringing charges against McClendon last week. Following his arrest, he was released on $25,000 bond.
He is scheduled to appear Dec. 2 in Loudoun County General District Court in Leesburg. If eventually convicted, he could be sentenced to spend several decades behind bars. Forgery and uttering are each punishable by as much as 10 years in prison.