It seems that drivers in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area may no longer see the iconic Two Marines Moving trucks on the road anymore.
The company seems to have folded, while a letter reportedly from the owner, Marine veteran Nicholas Baucom, claimed a business partner had embezzled an unknown but large sum of money from the company.
Though no widespread formal announcement was made, the company telephones no longer connect callers to the company. One user on Yelp posted a photo of a hand-signed letter allegedly from Baucom saying the company folded.
“It is with great regret that I must inform everyone that Two Marines Moving is closing it’s (sic) doors, effective immediately,” the letter allegedly signed by Baucom on Jan. 18 said.
The customer wrote on Yelp that the letter was found on the locked door of the company, where the customer went when he could not get ahold of the company about his upcoming move.
“So I have deposit … sitting with them that I may never see again,” a military reservist who asked to remain anonymous told Marine Corps Times in a text message on Monday. I “tried to keep it within the mil family and got screwed anyway!”
The moving company was founded on Nov. 10, 2008, by Baucom, an Iraq war veteran, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The company garnered attention for its hiring practices, focusing on getting veterans jobs and was hailed as a success of veteran entrepreneurship by organizations like Forbes, with Baucom even earning recognition from the White House during President Barack Obama’s tenure as a “champion of change.”
“In 13 years of business the company has faced many challenges before,” the letter said. “I have led my team through them. However, the magnitude and nature of these crimes has prevented me from exercising my normal ability to adapt, improvise and, overcome.”
The letter said the company was seeing record levels of revenue, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but someone inside the company had gained access to all his passwords and was stealing from company accounts the entirety of 2020.
An initial search of bankruptcy records in the Federal Eastern District of Virginia did not yet show the company any results for the company.
“The theft from the company financial accounts involved over $40,000 on some recent days,” the letter said.
The letter does not say who stole from the account but said the person had gained access to and changed the passwords on his personal bank account, credit card, personal investment account, company email and even his T-Mobile account, preventing him from resetting any of the passwords.
Attempts to reach out to Baucom via his personal email and phone number listed went unaswered.
On Dec. 29, 2020, Baucom was arrested at the Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., for the carrying a pistol without a license.
According to court records, Baucom, who lives in Virginia, said he went to the doctor, forgetting that he had a newly bought pistol in his backpack.
Baucom, “advised that earlier today he discovered that his roommate/business partner has been embezzling money from the company, so he decided to come into Washington DC to see his primary care doctor to discuss the matter,” a statement from the arresting officer said in the court documents. “He was unable to see his doctor without an appointment so he asked the receptionist to call him an to the hospital to meet with the police to discuss the matter.”
Baucom is next scheduled to appear in court about the arrest case in early June, according to court records.
Furthering the bizarre series of events, Baucom was reported missing for a short time in mid-January while on a business trip to Morristown, Tennessee, according to the local News Channel 11.
The Marine veteran seemingly missed an appointment with “business acquaintances” the afternoon of Jan. 11, while attempts to contact the veteran by friends and family failed.
He was late discovered safely that same day, according to the new outlet.
In the Jan. 18 letter posted to Yelp Baucom allegedly wrote that he currently has no visibility of the accounts and has no idea how much the company owes in outstanding bills and has no way to pay his employees.
The letter went on to say that a small portion of the crimes have been reported and an investigation has kicked off.
“Unfortunately progress has been slow as the parties involved have manipulated law enforcement by making numerous false statements about and against me,” the letter said.
Fairfax Police Department has not yet been able to confirm whether there is an ongoing investigation into Baucom’s allegations.
The sudden folding of the company has left some of its would-be customers in the dark.
“Phones and emails are all non-responsive, was supposed to move this week but turns out they won’t be coming,” the customer on Yelp who found the letter said in his review.
Those who made deposits with the company are unsure if they will ever get that money back.
Customers that lost their deposits when the company went under may have a case in small claims court, but when a company goes under it may be hard to actually receive the payment, Craig Miller, an attorney and partner with the Simeone and Miller law practice in Washington, D.C., told Marine Corps Times.
“Whenever you do business with any business, if the business goes out of business, then unfortunately, you are in a tough situation where you very well might be out whatever money, you’ve given the business,” Miller said.