Babysitter's tip helps nab fugitive

Published November 16, 2006

Matthew B. Cox, the Tampa mortgage broker accused of masterminding a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud across several Southeast states, was captured by federal agents in Nashville Thursday morning.

Cox, 37, became a fugitive in December 2003 as the St. Petersburg Times was preparing to publish an investigative story about questionable property deals by Cox and his Ybor City real estate firm, Urban Equity.

While still on the run in August 2004, Cox and a female accomplice, Rebecca M. Hauck, were indicted in Atlanta on bank fraud, forgery and mortgage fraud charges. Hauck, arrested in Houston in March, was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison Wednesday and ordered to pay $1.19-million in restitution.

Cox was arrested after a 60-year-old Nasvhille babysitter read about him in the Times and tipped off U.S. Secret Service agents.

Cox faces a possible 400 years behind bars if convicted of the federal charges in Georgia. He faces additional charges arising from his Tampa activities, authorities say.