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A man accused of stealing the identities of children, the homeless and people in drug rehab as part of a massive mortgage fraud scheme pleaded guilty to federal charges in three states Tuesday. Matthew Cox, 37, faces up to 54 years in prison and $2 million in fines at his Aug. 22 sentencing, but will likely not receive that stiff a punishment.

As part of a deal Cox struck with the government, prosecutors have agreed to recommend that U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten sentence Cox at the low end of federal guidelines. The exact range has not been determined.

Cox pleaded guilty to six charges that were leveled in Georgia, Florida and Tennessee: bank fraud, identity theft, passport fraud, two counts of mortgage fraud conspiracy, and violating his probation for a previous mortgage fraud conviction.

Forty-one other counts against him in Georgia will be dropped as part of his plea agreement.

Prosecutors say Cox and Rebecca Marie Hauck rented properties, fraudulently erased mortgage liens on the properties and then stole the owners’ identities and fraudulently took out multiple new mortgage loans.

They also used stolen identities to obtain driver’s licenses, purchase vehicles, lease mail drops, rent apartments and open bank accounts to receive proceeds from their schemes in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina, authorities said.


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