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Former theater owner pleads guilty to bilking couple

By Joe Beck

WARRENTON -- A former owner of the Strasburg Home Theater has pleaded guilty in Fauquier County to obtaining money by false pretenses in a scheme connected to his efforts to buy the theater.

Richard Perryman is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 14 by Judge Herman A. Whisenant Jr.

Perryman's plea on July 31 follows a judgment against him last year in Shenandoah County Circuit Court under which he was ordered to pay $112,426 to a Fauquier County couple who had sued him for failing to repay a loan.

The plaintiffs, Richard and Natalie Thompson, are also the victims identified in the criminal complaint filed against Perryman in Fauquier County.

Court documents in Shenandoah and Fauquier County accuse him of obtaining a $150,000 loan from the Thompsons. The criminal complaint states that Perryman was seeking the money to buy the theater, and they loaned him the money after he told them he had already obtained a loan from The Fauquier Bank.

The complaint, signed by Detective J.S. Layne states: "In an interview conducted Jan. 7, Mr. Perryman stated that he did not have a loan through The Fauquier Bank at the time he asked the Thompsons for the money. Mr. Perryman stated in an interview that the loan paperwork was never submitted to The Fauquier Bank at any point in time."

Strasburg town officials are planning to hire a consultant to do a feasibility study that they hope will spur one or more prospective owners and programmers to revive the defunct theater.

Kimberly Murray, economic and planning manager for Strasburg, said she hopes the feasibility study, which is being funded with a grant from the Virginia Housing and Development Authority, will be a catalyst for the theater's rebirth.

"We are excited about it," Murray said. "There's a lot of opportunity with the theater."

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

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