U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Columbia
(202) 252-6933
October 31, 2014

Maryland Man Sentenced to 16 Months in Prison in Tax Lien Scheme That Led to Loss of Victim’s Home

WASHINGTON—Emmette Brown, 42, of Glenn Dale, Md., was sentenced today to 16 months in prison on a federal mail fraud charge stemming from a scheme in which he was able to take control of a home in Northwest Washington and sell it, making a profit of more than $178,000 for himself, all without the knowledge of the original owner, who was overseas caring for his seriously ill mother.

The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Andrew G. McCabe, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). Brown pled guilty in August 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable Beryl A. Howell. Upon completion of the prison term, Brown will be placed on three years of supervised release. He also is required to pay $178,038 in restitution to the victim.

According to the government’s evidence, the victim owned a house in the 3800 block of T Street NW. In June 2005, he traveled to Russia to take care of his seriously ill mother. The victim intended to return to Washington, D.C., and had purchased a return airline ticket. However, his mother’s condition worsened and he remained abroad until her passing in early 2009. When the victim returned to the United States, he found his home gutted and that he no longer had legal control of the home.

While he was away, the victim had not paid his District of Columbia property taxes or his federal income taxes. In 2006, unbeknownst to the victim, the property went to a District of Columbia tax lien sale. The tax lien was sold to a company for just over $10,000 and the property went to foreclosure. Brown then began a series of actions, using false claims, power of attorney forms, where he forged the victim’s signature, and documents that enabled him to begin acting on behalf of the victim. Brown eventually sold the property for $465,000 and made approximately $277,000 in payments to pay off the victim’s taxes and liens. Brown paid off these liens in order to complete his theft of the victim’s home.

In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director in Charge McCabe, and Chief Lanier commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office and MPD. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Donna Galindo; Intelligence Specialist Sharon Johnson; Forensic Accountant Maria Boodoo, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Arvind K. Lal and Zia Faruqui, of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section. Finally, they expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip A. Selden, who prosecuted the case.

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