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The FBI Investigates Mortgage Fraud!

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Matthew Cox Pleads Guilty to Mortgage Fraud

From my co-author, Attorney Rachel Dollar of Lanahan & Reilley, LLP, and

Matthew Bevan Cox, 37, pled guilty to mortgage fraud, identity theft, passport fraud, and probation violation charges arising from a Northern District of Georgia indictment, criminal informations filed by the Middle Districts of Florida and Tennessee, and a Middle District of Florida revocation petition.

Cox was the subject of a three-year nationwide manhunt while he continued to commit mortgage fraud under stolen identities in multiple states, leaving a trail of victims and missing money, said United States Attorney David E. Nahmias in Atlanta. “The repeated use by Cox of the stolen identities of minor children, the homeless and others to place multiple fraudulent loans on the same property without the knowledge or consent of the true owners has resulted in clouded property titles in several states and years of unresolved litigation. He will now face the long prison sentence he deserves for his crimes.

According to the information presented in court: Cox rented or agreed to purchase properties from true owners, fraudulently erased prior mortgage liens and assumed the identity of the owners, used a stolen identity or paid straw borrowers to obtain multiple mortgage loans on the same property. Cox then changed locations and committed similar mortgage fraud schemes in other states. Cox and his co-conspirators used stolen identities to execute the mortgage fraud, including identities of minor children and those he received from conducting “Federal Surveys” of the homeless and drug rehab patients. Cox also used these stolen identities to obtain drivers licenses and state identification cards, purchase vehicles, lease mail drops and virtual offices, rent apartments, obtain credit cards, open bank accounts, and to apply for birth certificates and a passport used for travel to Jamaica, Greece and other foreign destinations while a federal fugitive.

Click here for the rest of Rachel’s write-up.

More, from our good friend Jeff Testermann of the St. Petersburg Times:

  • In Tampa, according to the newly filed charges, Cox committed $8.6-million in fraud on transactions involving 77 properties in the Tampa Heights and Ybor City areas.
  • In Nashville, Cox committed $2.35-million in fraud on 22 properties, according to the new charges.
  • Cox was helped by 22 unnamed co-conspirators in Tampa and Nashville, the new charges reveal.
  • Now, in a deal with the government, Cox, 37, says he will plead guilty to the new charges as well as to charges in a 42-count indictment filed in Georgia in August 2004, when he was a fugitive whose name topped the Secret Service’s most-wanted list.
  • Facing as many as 422 years in prison, Cox’s plea deal presumably will save him from a life term in return for his cooperation in pursuing accomplices.
  • The charges in Tampa list 16 unnamed co-conspirators, identified by initials only. The charges covering Cox’s activities in Nashville list six more unnamed co-conspirators.


  1. Mr. Roberts,

    My name is Larry Harshman and I am an attorney in Miami, FL. Most of my business is in the area of real estate and specifically real estate closings. I read your article in Realty Times wherein you described the “Cash-Back” schemes.

    This type of mortgage fraud is very common in South Florida. It is understandable that the Realtors that are new to the U.S. can be easily persuaded to participate in this type of mortgage fraud, especially (as I have been told so many times) “this can’t be illegal because everyone is doing it”. What really surprises me is the number of attorneys that are participating. I have lost numerous files because I refused to participate. Frequently those lost files ended up at another attorney’s office.

    When I explain the illegality of this scam, the normal response is that everyone else is doing it. I compare participating in the scam to speeding down the Florida Turnpike: Everyone does it, but only a few people get caught. The main difference, I say, is that when you get caught speeding, you get a ticket; but when you get caught in a mortgage fraud scam you go to jail! I love the Realtor’s reactions when I show them Internet articles where individuals have received prison terms of up to 15 years for participating in mortgage fraud.

    Unfortunately, most Realtors just find another closing agent.

    Keep up the good work!

    Larry A. Harshman, Esq.

    Comment by Larry A. Harshman — April 11, 2007 @ 11:55 am

  2. There is a good reason that “everybody” is doing it. there is money to be had and a slim chance of getting busted! Try to report a closing fraud. You will be given the brush off by the very entity that was ripped off. How is that for kick in teeth? Now, suppose that the Title Co. itself is owned by the Real Estate Brokerage? Hard to believe, but you will be writting blogs about it, hoping to inspire somebody to enforce a law. If I were to call the State Police and tell them that one of their Troopers didn’t notice me when I blew passed him at ninty mph, I stand a good chance of being mailed a ticket. I could even be arrested as posing a threat to fellow drivers! How about taking on a fraud in Washington State, Mr. Harshman, Esq.?

    Comment by Danielle Von Tungeln — April 29, 2007 @ 8:55 am

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