Matthew Bevan Cox, who eluded authorities for nearly three years before pleading guilty in April to mortgage fraud charges in three states, has been sentenced to 26 years in prison and ordered to pay $5.9 million in restitution to more than 100 victims.

Cox, 37, and his accomplice, Rebecca Marie Hauck, were dubbed “The Bonnie and Clyde of mortgage fraud” for a string of crimes involving identity theft and mortgage fraud in several states including Tennessee, Georgia and Florida.

In the Nashville area, prosecutors said, Cox contracted to buy approximately two dozen homes using stolen identities or straw borrowers, obtaining multiple mortgage loans on the properties at inflated values.

Cox would conduct bogus “federal surveys” of the homeless and drug rehab patients, obtaining personal information to obtain drivers licenses and state identification cards, lease mail drops, open bank accounts, obtain mortgage loans and apply for a passport used for travel to Greece while he was a federal fugitive, prosecutors said.

His aliases included 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.

Cox’s multistate crime spree began with a Feb. 19, 2002, mortgage fraud conviction in Tampa. After pleading guilty to bank fraud and grand theft, Cox was placed on probation. He became a fugitive in December 2003 when he was charged with probation violations. An arrest warrant was issued for Cox in Atlanta in July 2004 where he was charged with mortgage fraud.

On Sept. 29, 2005, a federal grand jury in Atlanta indicted Cox and Hauck on 42 counts of mortgage fraud in violation of the bank and wire fraud statutes, identity theft, money laundering and conspiracy.

Hauck was arrested in Houston in March 2006 by U.S. Secret Service agents and pleaded guilty two months later. She was sentenced on Nov. 15, 2006, to five years, 10 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution.

The Secret Service arrested Cox the following day in Nashville, and on April 10 he entered a guilty plea in Atlanta to mortgage fraud, identity theft, and passport fraud charges.

On Nov. 16, Cox was sentenced in federal district court in Atlanta to 26 years and four months of imprisonment and five years of supervision upon release. In addition to $5.9 million in restitution payments, Cox forfeited $6 million in fraudulently obtained property.

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