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November 17, 2007

Matthew Cox Sentenced to 26 Years in Jail and Fined $12 Million for Real Estate & Mortgage Fraud

Many people believed this day would never come, but exactly one year to the day from when he was apprehended by Federal authorities, this nation’s most notorious Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud-related criminal has finally been sentenced for his role in a brazen string of acts that stunned nearly everyone who had ever played a hand in Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud forensics.

Thirty-eight-year-old Matthew Bevan Cox, the poster child for Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud in this country… the same man who kept federal authorities at bay for over three years and was the subject of an intense nationwide manhunt (and whose face landed on the U.S. Secret Service’s list of the Most Wanted Fugitives for his role in numerous Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud scams)… cried like a little baby in U.S. District Court in Atlanta yesterday afternoon, and was promptly sentenced to serve 26 years in Federal prison AND pay his victims up to $12 million in restitution.

For those of you who have never heard Matthew Cox talk about his crimes, the following clip, from NBC affiliate WSMV-TV in Nashville, Tennessee, will give you a small taste of what was going his mind:

Matthew Cox was indicted by a Federal grand jury in Atlanta in late-September of 2005 on 42 counts of mortgage fraud, identity theft, money laundering, and conspiracy. The Middle Districts of Tennessee and Florida filed criminal charges against Cox in April of this year, charging him conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud, aggravated identity theft, and passport fraud.

Cox, who was pleaded guilty to all charges on April 10th of this year, was apprehended on November 16, 2006 in Tennessee after a Nashville man read about him in a local newspaper and tipped off U.S. Secret Service agents. In the world of Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud forensics, no one person’s name sends a shiver up the back of a spine more so than Matthew Cox, who was 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.

Matthew Cox used stolen identities to obtain drivers licenses, purchase vehicles, lease mail drops, rent apartments, and open bank accounts to receive Real Estate-related scheme proceeds throughout the states of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina. Cox’s accomplice in many of his scams– Rebecca Marie Hauck–was sentenced on November 15, 2006 (the day before Cox was captured) by a U.S. District Judge in Georgia to serve 5 years and 10 months in prison for her role in the now infamous string of mortgage and bank fraud-related crimes.

How Cox be able to afford the $12 million he was ordered to pay in victim restitution is anyone’s guess, but despite his wicked ways, Matthew Cox was–and may still be–a talented writer and artist who just so happened to leave behind a number of works. According to WXIA-TV in Atlanta, a representative of the victims is planning to offer, perhaps as soon as this coming week, four of Cox’s paintings for sale on eBay, with 100 percent of the proceeds going into the victims’ restitution fund. Cox did signed away the rights to his future works, including any additional paintings and unpublished novels, past and future, to his victims’ restitution fund, so that too may provide some relief.

For now, we can all sleep a little better at night knowing that Matthew Cox is finally paying for his crimes. That said, 26 years in prison and $12 million in fines may not be enough for this guy or the others who try to follow his example.

April 11, 2007

Matthew Cox Pleads Guilty to Mortgage Fraud

From my co-author, Attorney Rachel Dollar of Lanahan & Reilley, LLP, and MortgageFraudBlog.com:

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.

April 2, 2007

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.

December 14, 2006

The Christian Science Monitor and Real Estate Fraud

You can now add The Christian Science Monitor to the list of major American media outlets that is choosing to provide coverage of the growing problems associated with a cooling real estate market and fraud. On page two of today’s edition, Staff Writer Patrik Jonsson take readers on a journey that starts with Matthew Cox’s most recent court appearance, and ends with a reminder that for every Cox that’s caught, thousands of others remain on the loose and difficult and track down. In between, Jonsson provides insight from a Rutgers University policy analyst, a former loan officer who spent two years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud, and yours truly–FlippingFrenzy.com founder, Ralph Roberts.

From The Christian Science Monitor:

Real estate fraud has now firmly emerged on the FBI’s radar as the country’s fastest-growing white-collar crime – all, in essence, polite forms of bank robbery. Industry losses ran to at least $606 million last year, it says. And the Treasury Department’s suspicious-activity reports are up 35 percent this year. The Internal Revenue Service’s criminal case numbers in mortgage fraud have been doubling every two years through the first half of this decade.

If the downturn continues past 2007, experts say the implications for the economy could be dire.”Real estate fraud is going to make the S&L crash look like two cars in the parking lot that bumped into each other at five miles an hour,” predicts Ralph Roberts, the author of “Flipping Houses For Dummies,” in Warren, Mich.

Georgia is a major hot spot of mortgage fraud, where metro Atlanta has become known as the mortgage fraud capital of the US, according to rankings by Fannie Mae.

For the complete story, see Real estate fraud rises in US.

Posted By: Ralph Roberts @ 12:40 am | | Comments Off | Trackback |
Filed under: Georgia,Matthew Cox,Mortgage Fraud,Real Estate Fraud

November 17, 2006

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.

mw_cox_200.jpg

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.

Cox1.jpg

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) | Trackback |
Filed under: Arrest,Matthew Cox,Mortgage Fraud,Real Estate Fraud,Rebecca Hauck

November 16, 2006

Rebecca Huck Sentenced to Nearly 6 Years in Prison

Rebecca Marie Hauck–who has been called the ‘better half’ of a Bonnie & Clyde team that is credited with committing more real estate and mortgage fraud-related crimes than you can shake a stick at–was sentenced yesterday afternoon by a U.S. District Judge in Georgia to serve 5 years and 10 months in prison for her role in a string of mortgage and bank fraud-related crimes.

As most Flipping Frenzy readers already know, Hauck was involved in fraud schemes that resulted not only in millions of dollars in losses for innocent homeowners and banks, but she also snarled property titles on residences throughout the southeastern part of the United States. Hauck and co-defendant Matthew Cox (who is still on the loose, by the way) stole homeowners’ identities and placed multiple loans on houses they did not own, which created a level of havoc that is still being felt across five southeastern states.

Hauck, who is just 34-years-old, will serve her time in a federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay restitution of $1,197,970.00, and was ordered to forfeit any profits from book, television or any entertainment rights she secures here in the U.S.

According to the information presented in court, Hauck and co-defendant Cox fraudulently erased mortgage liens on rented properties. In the process, they stole the identities of the people from whom they rented, and frequently obtained multiple new mortgage loans on the properties. After they executed the scheme in one location, they changed locations and did the same thing over and over again. Hauck and Cox used stolen identities to obtain drivers licenses, purchase vehicles, lease mail drops, rent apartments and open bank accounts to receive scheme proceeds throughout the states of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Hauck was indicted in late-September of 2005 on 42 counts of bank fraud, wire fraud, interstate transportation of fraud proceeds, identity theft, money laundering and conspiracy. Her indictment, which was unsealed in March of this year when the U.S. Secret Service arrested her in Houston, Texas, came as a wake-up call to some real estate industry insiders.

For his part, 36-year-old Matthew Cox–whose known aliases include Maxwell Price, David Richard Freeman, Gerald Scott Cugno, Michael Shawn Shanahan, Gary Lee Sullivan, Michael John Eckert, Michael White, Kevin White, David White, and James Redd–is alleged to have obtained a number of the stolen identities from homeless people by posing as a Red Cross worker taking a survey. According to the U.S. Secret Service, he has used elaborate schemes to avoid capture, including obtaining state-issued and counterfeit driver’s licenses. He has not used his true name since 2003, and is believed to be armed and dangerous. Law enforcement is seeking the assistance of the real estate industry in locating Cox, who has been a fugitive since December of 2003. Anyone with information about Matthew Cox’s whereabouts can contact the Secret Service toll-free, 24 hours a day, by calling 1-877-242-3375.

October 31, 2006

Fortune Magazine Weighs in on Matthew Cox

With just two weeks to go before Rebecca Hauck is sentenced [for her role in a long string of real estate and mortgage fraud-related crimes], Fortune Magazine weighs in with a 5,000-word article on her accomplice, Matthew Cox. From yesterday online edition of Fortune Magazine:

The real estate market has never offered such opportunity for graft. Since the housing market started to soar in 2001, mortgage fraud has become the fastest-growing white-collar crime, according to the FBI. Last year crooks skimmed at least $1 billion from the $3 trillion U.S. mortgage market.

Now that the market is slowing, fraud is only rising. As business dries up, there’s increasing pressure on lenders, brokers, title companies and appraisers to be profitable. That means loan and title documents aren’t scrutinized as carefully as they might be, and courts – many of them so low-tech they resemble Mayberry – can’t keep up with the volume of paper. …

And with a con man like Matthew Cox still at large, any homeowner in the land is vulnerable. “Master con men like Cox are charming, manipulative, cunning. They have an amiable facade, which makes them very adept at getting others to like them,” says Louis B. Schlesinger, a professor of forensic psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

For the better part of the past decade Cox has stalked his prey through MLS (multiple listing service) real estate ads. He has studied county courts, looking for ones he could easily dupe with falsified documents.

Marcia Vickers, Fortune’s senior writer, and Reporter Associate Doris Burke, provide an in depth look into Hauck’s life with Cox, and speculate that Cox may be hiding out in Cuba. For more information on the Hauck and Cox story, read The Bonnie and Clyde of mortgage fraud, courtesy of CNNMoney.com.

Posted By: Ralph Roberts @ 12:14 am | | Comments (2) | Trackback |
Filed under: Matthew Cox,Mortgage Fraud,Real Estate Fraud,Rebecca Hauck

August 8, 2006

Most Recent Photo of Matthew Cox

According to Rebecca Hauck’s mother, this is the most recent photograph anyone has of Matthew Cox:

Cox1.jpg

While the image itself is not very clear or large, it does show just how different Cox looks from his standard mug-shot. For more information on Cox and his exploits, click on any of the links below.

if you see the joker pictured above, call your local law enforcement officials or the U.S. Secret Service immediately. His name is Matthew B. Cox, and his known aliases include Maxwell Price, David R. Freeman, Gerald Scott Cugno, Michael S Shanahan, Michael J. Eckert, Gary L. Sullivan and David White. I cannot stress this enough… anyone with information regarding Matthew Cox’s whereabouts should contact the Secret Service toll-free by calling (877) 242-3375.

Posted By: Ralph Roberts @ 8:30 am | | Comments Off | Trackback |
Filed under: Matthew Cox,Rebecca Hauck,Uncategorized

June 20, 2006

Matthew Cox is Still Out There!

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.

For anyone new to this blog or to the world of real estate fraud forensics, Cox’s name and face appear on the United States Secret Service’s Most Wanted Fugitive list (along with five other scammers and fraudsters). If you’ve never seen him, here’s his most popular pose (courtesy of the U.S. Secret Service):

mw_cox_200.jpg

In August of 2004, arrest warrants were issued in Georgia for Cox and Rebecca Hauck for conspiracy, stolen identification documents, mail and wire fraud, money laundering and social security number fraud. Hauck was apprehended in Houston, Texas, earlier this year and has since appeared in a Georgia court (click here for a list of pervious write-ups about Hauck’s arrest and plea).

Cox, on the other hand, continues to use elaborate schemes to avoid capture, including obtaining state-issued and counterfeit driver’s licenses. The Secret Service says he has not used his real name since 2003, and that he has been traced to locations in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina.

If you see Matthew Cox at a closing table, or if you suspect that he has been involved in a real estate deal you’ve been involved with, you need to contact the United States Secret Service immediately. He is known to carry a firearm at all times, so whatever you do, do not attempt to apprehend him on your own. Cox is considered armed and dangerous!

Anyone with information regarding Matthew Cox’s whereabouts should contact the Secret Service toll-free by calling (877) 242-3375.

May 17, 2006

Update: Rebecca Hauck Pleads Guilty to Real Estate Fraud Charges

The better half of real estate fraud’s ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ team plead guilty this past Monday to criminal charges related to bank fraud, wire fraud, interstate transportation of fraud proceeds, identity theft, money laundering and conspiracy in connection with a real estate fraud scam that spanned five states. Rebecca Hauck–whose known aliases included Grace Hudson, Therese Knight, Donna Martin, Michielle Joseph, and Rebecca Hickey–is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Georgia, Timothy C. Batten Sr., in late July. Hauck’s co-conspirator and co-defendant, Matthew Cox, remains at large and still on the U.S. Secret Service ‘Most Wanted’ list.

In August of 2004, arrest warrants were issued in Georgia for Hauck and Cox for conspiracy, stolen identification documents, mail and wire fraud, money laundering and social security number fraud. Cox has used elaborate schemes to avoid capture, including obtaining state-issued and counterfeit driver’s licenses. According to the Secret Service, he has not used his real name since 2003. If you’re unfamiliar with Hauck and Cox and their string of real estate scams, click here for a detailed recap.

According to Hauck’s Plea Agreement, while she now faces up to 35 years in prison and $1,250,100 in fines, the U.S. Attorney handling the case, David E. Nahmias, has recommended that Hauck be sentenced at the ‘low end’ of the acceptable range, which suggests to me that Rebecca is being extremely cooperative with investigators.

Posted By: Ralph Roberts @ 7:46 am | | Comments (5) | Trackback |
Filed under: Matthew Cox,Real Estate Fraud,Rebecca Hauck,Uncategorized

April 10, 2006

Have I Been Affected By Real Estate Fraud?

There are two types of crime in this world. The first is the type in which you know a crime has been committed against yourself or someone else and you’re not afraid to report it to the proper authorities. The second is the type where you’re not sure if you’ve been victimized and/or you’re too embarrassed to report it to the proper authorities. Unfortunately, real estate and mortgage fraud fall into the second category. All too often, victims of real estate and mortgage fraud-related crimes are under informed and/or too embarrassed by their situation, and for whatever reason they choose not to report the crime.

As regular readers know, a few weeks ago I wrote about Rebecca Hauck’s capture in Texas. Hauck, the alleged co-conspirator of real estate and mortgage fraud poster-child, Matthew Cox, is now in Atlanta, Georgia, where she faces a multitude of real estate-related fraud charges, including conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering and use of stolen identities.

Soon after writing about Hauck’s arrest for my own blog (this blog, that is), I was asked by the good folks over a RealtyTimes.com to write a similar piece for their readership. What has happened since has been both unexpected and enlightening, especially when it comes to the type of crime where people are not sure if they’ve been victimized and/or they’re too embarrassed to report it.

It seems that the Rebecca Hauck arrest–along with my own writings about it–have spurred a number of people to come forward and inquire as to the possibility of they themselves being victims of Hauck and Cox-like transactions. Since I first wrote about Hauck’s arrest, I’ve received a number of inquiries from both consumers and other real estate industry professionals, all of who believe they may be victim s of related estate-related fraud.

Here’s an example of one such inquiry. This is from a fellow real estate professional whose name and some of the case’s specific details have been changed or omitted to protect individual privacy:

I am a real estate industry professional helping someone with forensic work in a divorce case. During the course of my work, I have come across what I believe are several fraudulent, recorded documents and transactions which have seriously harmed my client; some of which involve multiple and expensive real properties which appear to have had the cooperation of notaries and attorneys. In short, they appear to be very similar to the events outlined in your “Bonnie & Clyde” article.

There is really no way to put this delicately, but my client insists, and I am inclined to agree, that it seems that many of the attorneys in that locale are aware that this fraudulent activity is common practice when a person of considerable means has significant assets. There is great reluctance on the attorneys’ parts to expose or stop this activity or it bring to the attention of authorities. My client has been advised it would be “too difficult,” they are “divorce lawyers not real estate experts,” “impossible to prove,” “cause trouble,” “not worth it,” etc.

I’m wondering if you can help review the documentation and advise us? Would it be possible to discuss this matter immediately? Grateful for any assistance you can give.

In her wildest dreams, I bet Rebecca Hauck never imagined that her capture, arrest, and extradition would lead to more people coming forward as potential victims of real estate-related fraud. Image what Matthew Cox’s arrest will do!

Posted By: Ralph Roberts @ 9:35 am | | Comments (5) | Trackback |
Filed under: Matthew Cox,Mortgage Fraud,Real Estate Fraud,Rebecca Hauck

April 4, 2006

More Info on Rebecca Hauck’s Arrest

2006-04-04 11:45
Jeff Testerman over at The St. Petersburg Times wrote an excellent article about Rebecca Hauck’s arrest and the continuing search for Matthew B. Cox. From Testerman’s article, titled Bonnie and Clyde with a new twist:

Hauck, 34, a former legal secretary who left behind a young son to join Cox, was arrested by the U.S. Secret Service last week in Houston. She awaits transfer to Atlanta for arraignment on a 42-count federal indictment that could subject her to more than 400 years in prison on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering and use of stolen identities. …

… In Atlanta, U.S. government prosecutors hope Hauck will provide clues to Cox’s whereabouts. “Sentencing provisions provide for the possibility of leniency for cooperation,” said Gale McKenzie, an assistant U.S. attorney in Atlanta. “We would still very much like to know where Mr. Cox is.” …

… In Atlanta, Cox and Hauck established headquarters and adopted new identities for a new round of fraudulent loans, the indictments say. Cox stole the identity of Gerald Scott Cugno, a Tampa mortgage broker who had worked with Cox for several years. Hauck took the name of Michielle V. Joseph, a former in-law, before becoming Grace E. Hudson, who checked in to an Atlanta plastic surgery center for a $12,000 facelift to change her appearance, authorities said. …

… Officials were keeping mum this week about whether Cox and Hauck were still working together when she was arrested in Houston.

No one has covered the Matthew Cox and Rebecca Hauck story like Jeff Testerman of The St. Petersburg Times His in-depth investigative reporting has helped countless people, including real estate industry insiders like myself, stay on top of the situation. Click here for Jeff’s entire article.

Posted By: Ralph Roberts @ 11:45 am | | Comments (5) | Trackback |
Filed under: Arrest,Jeff Testerman,Matthew Cox,Rebecca Hauck

March 28, 2006

One Down, One To Go: Rebecca Hauck Arrested in Texas; Her Partner In Crime–Matthew Cox–Remains At Large

Chalk one up for the good guys. Rachel Dollar over at MortgageFraudBlog.com reports that the better half of real estate fraud’s very own ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ team has been captured. According to Rachel:

Rebecca Hauck, the alleged co-conspirator of Matthew Cox, was arrested by federal authorities in Texas last week. Cox remains a fugitive. In connection with her arrest, Georgia authorities unsealed a 42 count indictment charging Cox and Hauck with conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud, bank fraud, frauds and swindles, transportation of stolen property, money laundering and fraud with identification documents.

Cox and Hauck are alleged to have perpetrated a mortgage fraud scheme in Tampa, Florida in 2003. Cox and Hauck disappeared and showed up in Atlanta, Georgia where they are alleged to have again engaged in a mortgage fraud scheme and disappeared before being caught. Last year, Cox was almost caught in South Carolina but managed to elude authorities and disappear after obtaining over $1M in mortgage loans from his South Carolina operations. Prior to embarking on the alleged mortgage fraud spree, Cox is rumored to have written a 317 page novel entitled The Associates which details the fraud scheme in which he is alleged to have later engaged.

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

In the meantime, if you see the fella pictured below, call your local law enforcement officials immediately. His name is Matthew Cox, and his known aliases include Maxwell Price, David R. Freeman, Gerald Scott Cugno, Michael S Shanahan, Michael J. Eckert, Gary L. Sullivan and David White.

Posted By: Ralph Roberts @ 9:09 am | | Comments (2) | Trackback |
Filed under: Arrest,Matthew Cox,Rebecca Hauck,Texas