Contractor accused
of illegal dumping

A government contractor has been indicted on charges related to the illegal discharge of waste into the Potomac River over a three-year period, federal authorities said.

Patrick Brightwell, 47, of Georgia is facing federal charges in the District after allegedly directing employees to use a vacuum truck to clean storm water drains on the Mall and dispose of the wastewater in a Hains Point storm drain that flows into the Potomac, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

The National Park Service had contracted with Brightwell’s company to properly dispose of the waste. His company received more than $500,000 for the work between 2008 and 2011. Brightwell also allegedly told his employees to conceal the illegal activity from the Park Service and the police.

Brightwell has been charged with eight counts, including conspiracy, false claims, obstructing an investigation and a Clean Water Act violation. He faces a maximum of 33 years in prison if convicted.

— Justin Jouvenal

Businessman sentenced in scam

A businessman who prosecutors say cheated customers out of $35 million while he purchased a custom-built $3 million home, condominiums in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and a Lamborghini and a Ferrari was sentenced to 12 years in prison Friday, authorities said.

Prosecutors said William Dean Chapman, 44, of Sterling orchestrated a $270 million stock-loan scheme that cost 122 of his customers $35 million.

Chapman, the founder of Alexander Capital Markets, persuaded customers to turn over securities they had purchased to him in exchange for cash loans worth 85 to 90 percent of the securities’ value, promising that if they repaid the loans with interest, they could have the securities back after some years, prosecutors said. Even if they did not pay back the loan, the customers were told, they could walk away and let Chapman keep the securities, prosecutors said.

Chapman’s company, though, immediately sold the customers’ securities, lent them a portion of the proceeds and kept the rest, prosecutors said. By April 2008, prosecutors said, the company was insolvent, but Chapman continued to swindle customers.

— Matt Zapotosky