Sunday, August 12, 2012

Chester Ransom, Esquire Federal City Sentenced to 6 years in Prison

United States Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia
U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.

June 15, 2012
Public Affairs

Executive of Property Management Company Sentenced
For Defrauding Clients, Mortgage Lenders and Government
- Scheme Involved More Than $2.8 Million -

            WASHINGTON – Chester D. Ransom, Jr., 45, the vice president of a property management company, was sentenced today to six years in prison for defrauding his clients, mortgage lenders, and the government out of more than $2.8 million.

            The sentence was announced by Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; Peter Rendina, Acting Inspector in Charge, Washington Division, U.S. Postal Inspection Service; James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Rick A. Raven, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.

            Along with Bryan W. Talbott, 49, Ransom pleaded guilty in January 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the government. Ransom was sentenced today by the Honorable Robert L. Wilkins.  In addition to his prison sentence, Ransom was sentenced to five years of supervised release.  As part of their plea agreements, Ransom and Talbott agreed to criminal forfeiture and restitution of more than $2.8 million.

            Talbott’s sentencing was continued until a later date after he was arrested on June 14, 2012, pursuant to a warrant issued by Judge Wilkins, based on an alleged violation of Talbott’s conditions of release. 

            According to the government’s evidence, Talbott was the president andRansom was the vice president of a property management company located in Washington, D.C., that operated under multiple names, including Esquire LLC, Federal City Mowbray, and Private Properties Inc. (collectively referred to as “Esquire”).  The defendants also lived together at a residence on North Portal Drive NW, Washington, D.C.

            From 2004 to the present, the defendants engaged in three separate fraudulent schemes, resulting in more than $2.8 million in losses to the victims.

Fraud Relating to Property Management

            Through their property management company, Esquire, the defendants entered into contracts with numerous property owners in the Washington, D.C. area to manage their rental properties.  Under many of the contracts, the defendants were required to collect rental payments from tenants and use those funds to pay bills relating to the properties, such as utility bills.  After paying any bills and deducting an administrative fee, the defendants were required to remit the remainder of the rental payments to the property owners.

            As part of their fraudulent scheme, the defendants frequently collected rental payments from tenants but did not pay the bills for the properties, despite falsely representing to the property owners that the bills had been paid.  Instead, the defendants used these funds for their own benefit. In addition, the defendants also sent forged bank statements to some of their clients, misstating the balances in their clients’ accounts. 

            Through this fraudulent scheme, the defendants defrauded at least 54 clients out of a total of $1,269,278.

Mortgage Fraud

            On June 30, 2004, Ransom purchased the property on North Portal Drive NW for $975,000, financing the purchase, in part, with two loans in the total amount of $731,250 from WMC Mortgage Corp., a mortgage lender. Ransom executed two deeds of trust on the property, granting WMC a security interest in the property.

            On December 29, 2005, Ransom filed with the District of Columbia Recorder of Deeds two forged Certificates of Satisfaction, purporting to release the WMC liens on the Portal property.

            Then, on January 13, 2006, Ransom sold the Portal property to Talbott for $1,110,000.  The defendants provided copies of the forged lien releases to the settlement company.  Talbott obtained a loan in the amount of $750,000 from Fremont Investment and Loan.  Talbott executed a deed of trust on the property, granting Fremont a security interest in the property.  Ransom received a check in the amount of $515,034 from the settlement.

            Less than a month later, on February 2, 2006, Ransom again “sold” the Portal property to Talbott, this time for $1,250,000, despite the fact that Talbott was already the legal owner. The defendants provided copies of the forged lien releases to the settlement company. Talbott obtained a loan of $890,000 from First National Bank of Arizona. Talbott executed a deed of trust on the property, granting First National Bank of Arizona a security interest in the property. Ransom received a check in the amount of $801,280 from the settlement.

Tax Fraud

            For tax year 2006, the defendants filed false federal and District of Columbia tax returns.  For both of their federal and D.C. taxes, the defendants submitted Forms W-2 that indicated federal and D.C. income tax withholdings in the following amounts:

Federal Income Tax Withheld (Box 2)
State Income Tax (Box 17)

            In fact, the defendants did not have any actual federal or D.C. income tax withholdings for tax year 2006.  Talbott’s false tax returns generated a federal tax refund in the amount of $66,655 and a D.C. tax refund in the amount of $30,897.  Ransom’s 2006 federal and D.C. tax refunds were blocked prior to disbursement.


            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen, Acting Inspector in Charge Rendina, Assistant Director McJunkin and Special Agent in Charge Raven commended the outstanding investigative work of Postal Inspector Steven Sultan of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; agents of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; agents of the Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigation, and Kevin Craddock of the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Criminal Investigation Division. They also praised the efforts of members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including forensic accountants in the Fraud and Public Corruption Section; Paralegals Diane Hayes and Sarah Reis; former Paralegal Carolyn Cody; Legal Assistants Jamasee Lucas, Krishawn Graham, and Nicole Wattelet; Information Technology Specialist Joshua Ellen; former Intern Sierra Tate, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Saler, who worked on forfeiture issues, and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Johnson, who prosecuted the case.



Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Letter to the Mayor and Council - Calvary Women's Shelter

The letter below was sent to Mayor Gray and Councilmembers Kwame Brown, Phil Mendelson, Michael Brown, and Vincent Orange this evening.

Mayor Gray,

Why do you allow Ward 8 to be a dumping ground for homeless shelters, group homes, and drug clinics? My neighbors and I recently learned that Calvary Women's Services plans to open a homeless shelter on Good Hope Road SE.

I believe you agree that we are trying very hard in Ward 8 to bring new homeowners and businesses to Good Hope Road, Martin Luther King Ave, and South Capitol Street SE. What businessperson will open a new enterprise next door to a homeless shelter or methadone clinic?
When my neighbors and I moved to Ward 8 five years ago, we really believed the city was dedicated to supporting homeownership, small business development, and safe streets in Ward 8. Many of us feel hoodwinked and bamboozled.

Please reconsider zoning and development policies for Ward 8. I challenge you and the council to place a moratorium on all new homeless shelters, group homes, and drug clinics in Ward 8. I’m sure Ward 8 residents would be more than willing to assist Calvary Women's Services find alternative locations where they can serve their clientele.



FYI - Barry's response to his constituent's outcry can be found here on Congress Heights on the Rise.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Owners of Esquire Federal City Arrested for Fraud

On October 19, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued an arrest warrant for Bryan Talbott and Chester Ransom on many charges including tax fraud, mortgage fraud, and bank fraud. They were finally arrested on Tuesday, November 8.

Watch Kris Van Cleave's coverage of this milestone in our fight for justice against Bryan and Chester here.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

ABC 7 On Our Side - Update on Esquire Federal City

Hello friends,

On May 31, ABC 7 On Your Side reported findings by Kris Van Kleave on the shady dealings of Esquire Federal City principals, Bryan Talbott and Chester Ransom. With Esquire fully exposed, there's NO excuse for another homeowner or condo association to fall victim to these scoundrels again!

Thanks - Braveheart

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Esquire Federal City Saga Continues...

Hello all!

Follow-up on the saga with Esquire Federal City:

"On May 2, 2011, a search warrant was executed on Bryan Talbott and Chester Ransom's residential property in Washington, DC as well as their office located at 1411 K Street, Washington, DC. The warrant was executed as part of a joint investigation including the United States Postal Inspection Service, FBI, IRS and DC Office of Tax Revenue... thank all of you for your assistance in this investigation."

United States Postal Service

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

DBT Development

Thinking about buying a home? Well, think twice before you buy anything built by DBT Development -- unless you like mold and falling ceilings.

There are 3 pressing issues affecting my condo association: the vacant building across the street, stolen funds by Esquire Federal City, and now structural problems (falling ceilings and mold). We've done our research to get to the bottom of these issues and the bread crumbs always trace back to one person: David Tolson, principal of DBT Development.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Follow-up: Esquire Federal City

Hello friends,

Back in February, I posted a warning to condo owners about Esquire Federal City property management company. Esquire stole nearly $100,000 from our condo association when we refused to renew their contract. With no money in the bank, my association is struggling to get by.

As a result of my initial posting, some condo associations were able to steer clear of Esquire. Unfortunately, some associations that had already fallen victim to Esquire's shady dealings contacted me simply to share their story and let me know that my association is not the only victim. Thank you for your emails. Unfortunately, I also received emails from Bryan Talbott, president and CEO of the so-called Esquire Federal City and Private Properties LLC.

His emails are pasted below (please read from top to bottom). Bryan's emails are in red and mine are in blue.

On Fri, Mar 12, 2010 at 12:04 PM, Bryan Talbott <> wrote:
Please be advised, if you are the person that posted the allegations against Esquire Federal City, you had better have that removed immediately. It is my intent to NOW forward this message to corporate counsel for Esquire Federal City, as your allegations, are nothing more than allegations. Esquire Federal City has NOT been served with legal actions, and at this point this is nothing but allegations nor is this firm aware of your allegations.

I am demanding you remove this immediately, if its not removed, my attorney will come after you personally, as well as the association members.

Please advise me once you have removed it today ! My office has already received phone calls about your allegations, and any fees expended now from our counsel will be billed to your association.

Watch what you say about people and companies on the internet without knowing the entire truth, slander pays well to those affected, I have read your allegations, and they are slander. All corporate owners have retained personal counsel as well as a result of your posting. I am demanding it be removed immediately.

Bryan W Talbott, CEO
Esquire Federal City Management
1420 N Street, NW
Suite T-1
Washington, DC 20005

Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2010 11:00:30 -0500
Subject: Re: Brandywine I


I am so happy to finally hear word from Esquire Federal City! Your email has been forwarded to the legal counsel for Brandywine Crossing I.

I have temporarily removed my initial posting as a courtesy to you. I hope you can reciprocate the friendly gesture and return the calls, emails, and letters from the residents and legal counsel of Brandywine Crossing I.

Also, I will post a copy of your email to my blog as a follow-up to my readers. Many people I have spoken to explain Esquire employees are unreachable. As a service to them, I will share your contact information on my blog as well.

You should hear from the attorney for Brandywine Crossing I shortly.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Luke 6:31

On Sat, Mar 13, 2010 at 11:09 AM, <> wrote:

Do not copy anything to anyone this has been forwarded to our attorneys. I will not answer any emails as this is not an issue for us to handle at this level but has now elevated to slander I will have your blog reviewed again today and all trace of your slanderous actions better be removed. The shareholders and owners are outraged and rightfully so.

Bryan W Talbott, President
Private Properties, LLC
Sent from my Verizon Wireless Blackberry Storm

From: <>

Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2010 11:22:12 -0500

To: <>

Subject: Re: Brandywine I


You do not intimidate me. And you don't control what is published to my blog. Do not email me again. If you want to talk - talk to the attorney for Brandywine Crossing I.

Note: Any communication you have with me will be forwarded to the attorney for Brandywine Crossing I and will be published on my blog.

Have a blessed day!

From: <>

Date: Sat, Mar 13, 2010 at 12:27 PM

Subject: Re: Brandywine I

To: <>

We are in the process of filing a restraining order you are already in trouble put one thing else on your blog and you will find out how much trouble you are in already scared or not

Bryan W Talbott, President
Private Properties, LLC
Sent from my Verizon Wireless Blackberry Storm

Since Bryan is accusing me of slander, please don't take my word for it! A testament of his character is illustrated in the Virginia, DC, and Maryland judicial system!

Click on the below links, type in Bryan Talbott or Chester Ransom, and voila!

This is not slander; it's public record. And if you check Virginia's court records, you'd be surprised of what you find. My association has nothing to gain from speaking out about this issue. We just don't want anyone else to be a victim of Esquire Federal City.

Stay tuned...