Man who stole millions using mortgage scams sentenced to 26 years
A man who stole millions of dollars through mortgage scams involving 125 properties in four states including Georgia was sentenced today to more than 26 years in a federal penitentiary, authorities said.
Matthew Bevan Cox, 38, who at times lived in Atlanta, Nashville and Tampa, also was ordered to pay nearly $6 million in restitution, forfeit $6 million in assets and serve five years’ probation, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Atlanta.
Additionally, as many as four paintings by the former University of South Florida art student will be auctioned on eBay in the coming week, with the proceeds going to his victims, authorities said.
Cox pleaded guilty in April to federal charges of mortgage fraud, identity theft, passport fraud and violation of probation. The defendant, who could have gotten up to 54 years behind bars, was sentenced to 26 years 4 months by U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr.
“Cox will now be serving the long prison sentence he deserves for his crimes,” U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias said in a prepared statement.
While a federal fugitive, Cox stole the identities of children, homeless people and others to take out multitude fraudulent loans on properties without the knowledge or consent of their owners, Nahmias said.
“His crimes resulted in clouded property titles in several states with years of unresolved litigation, a trail of over 100 victims, and millions of dollars in losses that cannot be recovered,” the prosecutor said.
Earlier this year, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Cox had assumed nearly 50 identities and had run a scam involving 125 properties.
Cox obtained fake identities by filing for fake birth certificates for nonexistent babies and “marrying” the “clean” Social Security numbers to personal information he gleaned from homeless people and those in drug therapy.
He then used the faked and stolen identities to obtain mortgages, inflated the value of the properties and filed fake paperwork in county clerk’s offices to clear liens from court records and take out additional loans on the properties. He was a master at obtaining driver’s licenses, credit cards and bank statements in other people’s names.
In Florida and Atlanta, Cox had female accomplices who helped him conduct his fraud. Both have been convicted.
Cox even wrote a 317-page semiautobiographical novel, “The Associates.” Unlike the author, the fictional character got away with his crimes.
At the time Cox pleaded guilty, assistant U.S. Attorney Gale McKenzie called the defendant “the poster child for identity theft.”