Dateline NBC Profiles Matthew Cox, Not Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud
Dateline NBC aired “Thief of Hearts” last night–a one-hour profile of noted real estate and mortgage fraud con artist, Matthew Cox. Unfortunately, the entire balance of the show focused not on the problems, warning signs, and societal issues associated with real estate and mortgage fraud–a crime that can only be described as a runaway cancer that is eating away at our floorboards. No, in typical big media fashion, NBC chose to position Cox as a ‘Don Juan’ who stole women’s hearts while attempting to overcome some sort of inferiority or superiority complex by stealing millions of dollars and the identities of close associates and “friends.”
The truth is that Matthew Cox and his known accomplices–namely, Rebecca Hauck, Alison Arnold, and Amanda Gardner (all of whom were interviewed for the piece)–literally ruined people’s lives and damaged entire neighborhoods, all in the name of greed and corruption. (To her credit, Alison Arnold turned herself in, served time in prison, and is now paying off a stiff penalty for her part in Cox’s schemes.)
Rather than focus on the damage Cox did or God forbid, the warning signs of real estate and mortgage fraud, NBC Correspondent Keith Morrison took his viewers on an hour-long journey that touched solely on Cox’s artistic ambitions, dyslexia, ability to woo women, and his writing (Cox wrote a novel called The Associates with a plot that closely resembles the time he spent committing real estate and mortgage fraud).
It’s not as though the producers of Dateline NBC were unaware of my efforts and those of my colleague Rachel Dollar in educating the public about threats from real estate and mortgage fraud. In early December of 2006, Joe Kraynak, a writer who worked with Rachel and me on the book “Protect Yourself from Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud” (to be published by Kaplan, this August, 2007), emailed the following message to the producers of Dateline NBC:
‘To Catch a Predator’ gave me an idea for another series centering around a sting operation. I’m currently co-authoring a book with the top two mortgage/real estate fraud experts in the nation–Ralph R. Roberts and Rachel Dollar. Ralph works alongside law enforcement to catch real estate con artists and educate industry professionals. I think a documentary complete with sting operations would be intriguing. Check out FlippingFrenzy.com and www.mortgagefraudblog.com. I can also provide you with additional contact information for Ralph and Rachel. Please let me know if you need additional information.
NBC had the perfect opportunity to educate and inform an alarming number of people on the dangers and warning signs associated with Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud. Instead, it only added to the problem by sensationalizing Cox’s efforts.