Xavier Milton Earquhart, 30, Greensboro, North Carolina, was convicted following a three-day jury trial of an extensive bank lien theft scheme, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft.
The evidence at trial showed that, in one bank fraud scheme, the defendant forged a deed on a property owned by an out of state landowner, and then channeled the property ownership through fictitious individuals and a holding company before personally taking title to the property. The defendant then attempted to secure $495,000 in home equity loans using the property as collateral, becoming successful on three such attempts.
In a second scheme, the evidence showed that the defendant forged bank lien releases on 8 properties, in some instances, by stealing the identities of bank employees, and in other instances, using fictitious notaries. The defendant created Delaware holding companies to conceal his activities. The defendant then sold the properties off to unknowing third parties. At trial, the evidence showed that because of the defendant’s actions, some homeowners lost the funds that they had invested into the properties. Other victims were left uncertain as to the ability of their families to remain in the homes due to the cloud upon their title.
Lastly, the evidence at trial included evidence from law enforcement concerning the tracing of the defendant’s fraudulent gains. Law enforcement used a note and key found in the defendant’s Prius to uncover a hidden trove of $300,000 worth of gold, concealed in a storage unit in Spring, Texas. Law enforcement also seized various items of valuable recording studio equipment.
The jury found Earquhart guilty of ten counts of Bank Fraud, two counts of Engaging in Monetary Transactions Involving Criminally Derived Property and one count of Aggravated Identity Theft and Aiding and Abetting. Following the jury trial, the jury further found that the defendant was obligated to forfeit more than $1.3 Million in fraudulent proceeds, more than $100,000 in recording studio equipment, and $300,000 in gold bullion and coins.
Earquhart is tentatively scheduled to be sentenced by Senior United States District Judge W. Earl Britt in July 2018 and faces up to 30 years imprisonment.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the IRS Criminal Investigation, with the assistance of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of the Inspector General, the Wake County Register of Deeds, Wake County Sheriff’s Office, United States Secret Service and the Bankruptcy Administrator for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Assistant United States Attorney William M. Gilmore represented the government in this case.