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Mortgage Fraud Scam Artist Matthew Cox Arrested in Nashville, Tennessee!

Just one day after his partner in crime was sentenced to nearly six years in federal prison, U.S. Secret Service Agents and Nashville, Tennessee police arrested Matthew B. Cox–the most notorious mortgage fraud scam artist ever to roam the planet. According to Flipping Frenzy’s good friend, St. Petersburg Times staff writer, Jeff Testerman, Cox was arrested after a 60-year-old Nashville babysitter read about him in the Times and tipped off U.S. Secret Service agents. According to the Associated Press, federal prosecutors in Atlanta, Georgia will handle Cox’s case.

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In the world of real estate and mortgage fraud forensics, no one person’s name sends a chill up the back of a spine more so than Matthew Cox, also known as Maxwell Price, David Richard Freeman, Gerald Scott Cugno, Michael Shawn Shanahan, Gary Lee Sullivan, Michael John Eckert, Michael White, Kevin White, David White, James Redd.

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For anyone new to this blog or to the world of real estate fraud forensics, Cox’s name and face have appeared on the U.S. Secret Service’s Most Wanted Fugitive list since around 2004. Cox and Hauck used stolen identities to obtain drivers licenses, purchase vehicles, lease mail drops, rent apartments and open bank accounts to receive reale estate-related scheme proceeds throughout the states of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina.

FlippingFremzy.com will have more on this developing story next week. In the meantime, we’d like to send a note of appreciation and support to the citizen (Patsy Taylor) who lead authorities to Cox, as well as to both the federal and local authorities in Nashville, for a job well done!

=x=x=x=x=x=x= UPDATE =x=x=x=x=x=x=

Jeff Testerman of the St. Petersburg Times just posted an amazingly detailed article on the events leading up the capture of Matthew Cox:

Sitter’s fears set arrest in motion

By JEFF TESTERMAN, Times Staff Writer
Published November 17, 2006

Matthew B. Cox., a former Tampa mortgage broker who rose to the top of the most-wanted list by purportedly masterminding a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme, was captured Thursday by federal agents at a home he shared with his girlfriend in Nashville.

Eluding capture for almost three years after being pursued by state and federal probation officers, the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service, Cox was turned in by the efforts of Patsy Taylor, a 60-year-old retiree and occasional babysitter.

Now Cox faces a 42-count fraud indictment in Atlanta that could put him behind bars for 400 years, as well as felony charges stemming from fleeing Tampa while on probation and additional fraud charges likely to arise from a federal investigation into fraudulent mortgage loans in the Tampa Heights area.

Taylor, the wife of a Baptist minister, mother of five and one-time owner of a medical transcription business, said she smelled something fishy about Cox, investigated him and then turned him in.

A half-dozen Secret Service agents captured Cox without incident Thursday morning.

“There was a certain deceit I saw in his eyes,” Taylor said Thursday. “I didn’t trust the things he said.”

Taylor met Cox a few months ago as he masqueraded as Joseph Carter, co-owner of a renovation firm called the Nashville Restoration Project, who offered a sweet deal to Taylor’s daughter on a remodeled home. Later, Taylor shared babysitting duties caring for the 4-year-old son of Carter’s girlfriend.

Nothing about Carter felt right, Taylor said.

“He said he could give my daughter this remodeled place for $150,000, and I knew it was a $250,000 place,” Taylor said. “He was supposed to have made all these sales but hadn’t really sold anything.”

Taylor said she wondered why Carter didn’t go out much, and why he had outfitted his restored bungalow home with sophisticated security cameras.

She began to investigate.

After learning Carter was from Florida, she used her computer to look through the archives of the state’s newspapers.

Taylor said a story published in the St. Petersburg Times this year caught her attention. It was about a couple from Tampa named Matthew Cox, 37, and Rebecca Hauck on the run from the law.

Focusing on a reference in the story to the most-wanted list circulated by the Secret Service, Taylor went to the agency’s Web site. There, at the top of the list was a mug shot of the man her instincts had told her was trouble.

“It scared me to death,” said Taylor. “It was Joseph Carter.”

Taylor read the Secret Service warning about Cox being armed and dangerous. She worried about her safety, and of the safety of the 4-year-old boy she had cared for as a babysitter. If she was going to take a chance on turning him in, she said, she figured, she ought to ask about a reward.

Last Friday, Taylor e-mailed the Times reporter who had chronicled Cox’s history since 2003 and asked if there was a reward. “I think I have some really good information that would catch him today,” she wrote.

The Times checked with the Secret Service. No reward. The newspaper next called Paula Hutchinson, attorney for Hauck, who had been captured in March, pleaded guilty to reduced charges and agreed to testify against Cox.

The catch was that Hauck would be able to testify and earn a reduced sentence only if Cox could be found.

Hutchinson said Hauck’s family would offer a private reward. The Times relayed the information to Taylor, along with Hutchinson’s phone number.

After the two women talked, the lawyer said she was sure Taylor had found Cox. The physical description, the dog named Pinky that Cox took when he left Hauck, the home restoration business, his affinity for Starbucks coffee and Infiniti autos – all were signs that Taylor had located the man at the top of the most wanted list.

Hutchinson put Taylor in touch with Secret Service agents.

Hours after Hauck was sentenced in Atlanta Wednesday to 70 months in prison for her part in a string of mortgage frauds, the Secret Service was monitoring the home of “Joseph Carter” and his girlfriend, Amanda Gardner, at 79 Donelson St. in Nashville

Taylor said an agent called her 10 times Wednesday night, troubled that no one seemed to be home at the Donelson address. Did Taylor have other addresses or phone numbers? Taylor said she did not.

What neither agents nor Taylor knew was that a home invasion at the Donelson Street address on Monday had sent Carter, Gardner and her son into hiding at a motel.

A report from the Nashville Police Department says that two masked men broke into the home, brandished guns and made off with $6,000 in cash, two Cartier watches, a Rolex watch, a 9mm handgun and the couple’s silver Infiniti.

“I was scared to death,” Gardner said Thursday. Her boyfriend “said he was afraid someone was after him, and we checked into a motel under another name.”

But by Thursday morning, Carter was back at the Donelson Street home. After Gardner left the home to take her son to school, agents swooped in.

Gardner returned to find the agents standing over her boyfriend, who confessed that he was Matthew Cox, she said.

Taylor said she gathered the courage to contact federal agents after reading in the Times “about young mothers going to jail while Cox was still doing criminal things.”

“I didn’t want this to happen again,” she said. “I always taught my children, if you do right, you are right.”

“Her motives didn’t seem to be mercenary,” Hutchinson said of Taylor. “She had concerns about her own safety and she was determined to stop the predator of young mothers.”

With the capture of Cox, Hauck now becomes eligible for a reduction in her sentence as she fulfills a promise to assist the U.S. government make its case against the man she says was her accomplice.

No one but Hauck can offer the details of the forgery, identity theft, bank fraud and money laundering prosecutors say the couple undertook for nearly two years in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and the Carolinas.

But with Cox still on the loose when Hauck was sentenced to prison Wednesday, she wondered if she’d have a chance to testify.

“The whole thing has been a bad dream for her,” said Hutchinson. “Now, she can wake up.”

Thank you, Jeff, for keeping all of us safe and in the loop!

Posted By: Ralph Roberts @ 6:50 am Comments (9)
Filed under: Arrest,Matthew Cox,Mortgage Fraud,Real Estate Fraud,Rebecca Hauck

9 Comments »

  1. I am bothered by the headlines and the News Alerts from the media today about Mathew Cox. I know it is legitimate news that they caught this idiot but for example, the Mortgage Daily, in their headlines and e-mail news alerts, they also list five other headlines of five other stories that they did on Cox and his lady. I think this is not just reporting news, this is also glorifying mortgage fraud.

    We already know that fraud in the mortgage industry is being committed, “business-as-usual” by industry professionals everyday. Most of the people who are doing it think it’s no big deal or they think that everybody does it. Labeling Cox as, “The most brazen outlaw in mortgage fraud …” is raising the intrigue level to the point where some might think it’s a neat; cool that it took the feds so long to find him.

    It also does another thing. It raises the standard of what industry insiders categorize as fraud. They will start to think that fudging just one document or lying about a borrower’s income just once isn’t really fraud. They will move the proverbial “line” and think that if they’re not doing what Mathew Cox did, then it’s not really fraud.

    How often does the media report the small fraud that is going on? That’s the stuff that’s crippling the industry. Mathew Cox – a couple million bucks, while it’s no drop in the bucket and it’s definitely a big deal, compared to the losses from the misrepresentation that occurs on a daily basis, a couple million is nothing.

    Reporting only huge fraud busts will cause the average industry insider to feel more comfortable with the seemingly small fraud. I cannot see how that is helping the fraud epidemic. While I’m not in the newspaper business and wouldn’t know the first thing about selling subscriptions, I have a suggestion: How about doing a news story and glorify the people who don’t cut corners and don’t commit fraud?
    Jerome Mayne – http://www.fraudcon.com

    Comment by Jerome Mayne — November 17, 2006 @ 1:23 pm

  2. Matt Cox is my first cousin, and for one I hope he suffers the rest of his life in the pen for his callous disregard for the livelihood of so many innocent people and his family. He is a disgrace to humanity — which is not far from what was ever expected of him — and belongs behind bars for the rest of his natural life (or sooner — good riddance). He was always an asshole, and I never thought he was very bright, but I guess he was able to fool everyone. I hope the American justice system can restore some faith in itself by imposing the max sentence.

    Comment by Allison H. — November 21, 2006 @ 12:49 am

  3. Jerome Mayne is right! When discussing fraud prevention, we tend to focus on the negative aspects of behavior at the expense of the professionalism that pervades the real estate community. We all know someone in our industry that places personal beliefs and core values ahead of financial gain. By being a living example, this person touched us and made a lasting impression on our careers and our lives. This person may be a boss, mentor, coach, colleague or anyone else for that matter. For us, this person is a human giant whose motives and actions we hope only to imitate during our own careers. This person is our hero!

    The heroes of our industry earned their status by illuminating the best qualities in all of us; integrity; courage; compassion. Their reputations are bigger than the industry itself!

    With that being said, I encourage all of you to share stories about the special people who made a difference in your lives by influencing your professional careers.

    Who do you admire most in the real estate industry?

    What are the personal qualities demonstrated by this person that have impressed you the most?

    I hope a lot of you decide to write and thank you, Mr. Mayne, for making this important observation.

    Ed Rybczynski

    Comment by Ed Rybczynski — December 2, 2006 @ 8:54 am

  4. I work for a title company on the west coast. We have always for fraud but last year my company instituted a special fraud awareness program and just spent the last few months teaching our escrow people what are the red flags and when it is necessary for us to disclose and to whom. We get a reward if we spot and effectively help our company participating in fraudulent transactions.

    Comment by Nancy — January 6, 2007 @ 2:04 pm

  5. I played baseball with Matt Cox back in the day in Temple Terrace he was always wierd and shady. When you do this type of thing to innocent people you should pay. I hope he gets ass raped.

    Comment by Spencer — February 4, 2007 @ 11:52 pm

  6. [...] Here’s a pretty good article by The Tennessean’s Chas Sisk about the arrest last year in Nashville of a man who has been called “the most notorious mortgage fraud scam artist ever to roam the planet.” And here’s a much better account by Jeff Testerman of the St. Petersburg Times from three months ago.   Published March 25th, 2007 in None of the Above [...]

    Pingback by Compare and Contrast at The Intown Report — March 25, 2007 @ 4:01 am

  7. Well I hope the title insurance companies get their ass handed to them for failing to make good on the binders they renegged upon. Cox is bad but the title insurance companies are even worse.

    Comment by Mr. D — April 12, 2007 @ 12:20 am

  8. I am ( unfortunately) related to Matthew B. Cox. Since I can remember as a kid Matthew was always known in the ” family” as the golden child. His family ” the Cox side” always thought they were above anyone, I mean anyone. They lived in Temple Terrace in a nice neighborhood, great job, maid, country club…etc. Those Cox kids had it made! They traveled to Europe in their teens and had it all. I blame their father George, he always did everything for those spoiled brats and especially the favorite Matthew. Matt could do no wrong in his eyes. They seemed to have this almighty attitude and looked down on others as scum( that is the truth). Matt was always a brat and very selfish, gee I wonder where he learned this???? George. His Mom was snobby too just not as bad. I guess when you have money that makes people act this way. I know his parents are suffering but he scammed them too out of a couple KKKKK. While they are not directly to blame for the fraud they molded this kid his entire life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have no pitty for them or him at all. WOW how proud they must be, the rest of the outside family is disgusted! As far as Matt I hope he rots in prison and I am sure those guys there just love him, Matt was always terrified to go to prison because he is so smart and sweet. How dare him do this to his son, what a disgrace, he is selfish! As far as the two girls that ran and helped them. DO NOT feel sorry for them there were both adults and knew what they were doing. Fake id’s, fake names, fraud, surgeries, running from the law..DUH!!! Rebecca Hauck at 34, knew better but the money got the best of her and she deserves the same amount of time Matt got. Imagine he will be 64 when he gets out and no one will ever get their money or property back, those are the real victims. Matt rot in jail…

    Comment by Ellen — February 6, 2011 @ 1:48 am

  9. Who is this Cox person and where did he live and grow up? In Florida or Tenn?

    Comment by jeanie — February 19, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

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