Bonnie and Clyde of Mortgage Fraudposted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/09/2006 05:42:00 AM
How did they do?
One way Cox got the deals done, authorities say, was to hire so-called straw men - people willing to pose or act as buyers. The straw man would tell the homeowner, "I want to buy your house - I'll pay you the full price you're asking. But I need a loan for triple the purchase price to make improvements. Would you agree to up the price just for the paperwork?" The unsophisticated sellers agreed. Why not? They were getting their price, and heck, the house needed repairs anyway. After the price was artificially inflated, the straw man would take out a loan, pay the homeowner the full price, pocket some cash, and give the biggest cut by far - around 90 percent - to Cox. Cox and his associates netted $2.7 million in fraudulent loans, authorities say.
How did they meet? Hauck met Cox on Match.com, the Internet dating service, in September 2003. Both were living in Tampa; she was new in town. Cox had described himself in his ad as a wealthy real estate pro. Plus, "he had posted images of some of his paintings on his Match.com page. I was blown away by his art," Hauck says. "I thought, here's a guy who's both sensitive and successful."
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