Former FBI agent receives two-year prison sentence for accepting bribes from D.C. real estate developer

October 20, 2023
Ben Marquis

A former FBI agent, along with a real estate developer who bribed him, will soon be going to prison for a while after being convicted for a conspiracy they were involved in together.

David Paitsel, 42, formerly of the FBI, and Brian Bailey, 53, a Washington D.C. real estate developer, both faced sentencing Wednesday "for their role in schemes involving confidential information held by the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development," according to The Hill.

Paitsel was found guilty of accepting bribes from Bailey in exchange for misusing official FBI resources in order to provide Bailey with nonpublic information that was useful to Bailey's efforts to purchase certain properties in the D.C. area.

Sentenced to prison for bribery

A Justice Department press release on Wednesday announced that both Paitsel and Bailey, who were each convicted by a jury on bribery and conspiracy charges on Oct. 7, 2022, were sentenced to serve time in prison by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.

Paitsel, of North Carolina, was ordered to serve two years in prison followed by two years of supervised release plus a $10,600 forfeiture judgment. Bailey, of Maryland, was ordered to serve four years behind bars plus two years of supervised release and to pay a $250,000 fine.

Another individual involved in the scheme is Dawne Dorsey, a former employee of the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, who pleaded guilty to bribery in 2019 and will face sentencing next month.

In another case that was said to be related, a D.C. man named Frederick Silvers also pleaded guilty to paying bribes to Dorsey and was previously sentenced to serve five months in jail.

D.C.'s tenant's right to purchase law

In the first part of the two-part scheme, Bailey was found to have paid thousands of dollars in bribes to Dorsey in exchange for gaining access to confidential and unredacted Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) offer of sale notices, which include nonpublic information about tenants residing at a specific property up for sale.

TOPA is a D.C. law that allows tenants a first right to purchase the property they live at if the owner puts that property up for sale, though that right can be reassigned and transferred to other third parties.

The law also requires that property owners must first provide the city with advanced notice of an offered sale prior to the offer being made to the general public.

After Bailey had obtained the private information about tenants with TOPA rights from Dorsey, he then turned to Paitsel for the second part of the scheme, in which the now-former FBI agent accepted bribes from the real estate developer in exchange for accessing a special FBI database to obtain and provide to Bailey the contact information and other data about those particular tenants.

Using bribes to exploit a law to gain unfair advantage

Fox News reported that the purpose of the bribery scheme was for Bailey to secure for himself from tenants the TOPA rights to certain "lucrative" properties in particular areas of D.C.

Indeed, through his bribes to Dorsey at the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, he was able to learn the confidential information of who held TOPA rights for properties that were about to be offered for sale, while his bribes to Paitsel at the FBI enabled him to learn more about those tenants and make contact with them, presumably in order to convince them to transfer their TOPA rights over to him.

Thus, with help from a supposed law enforcement officer, the corrupt real estate developer used illegal bribes to exploit D.C.'s TOPA law and gain an unfair advantage over other prospective developers and purchasers who might also be interested in the properties he sought to secure for himself.

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