WRAL Investigates

Man convicted of fraud in HOA-foreclosure home-buying scheme

Posted March 29, 2018 3:52 p.m. EDT
Updated March 29, 2018 6:40 p.m. EDT

— A federal jury on Thursday convicted a Wake Forest man charged with fraudulently scooping up homes in foreclosure.

Xavier Milton Earquhart, who has been the subject of a WRAL News investigation for four years, was found guilty of a dozen counts related to bank and mortgage fraud. He will be sentenced in July.

Earquhart was arrested in Wake Forest in June 2014 when residents on Coral Bell Drive saw him drilling out the locks of a nearby house and called police. Police eventually dropped all charges against him when he showed that he had purchased the title of the $300,000-plus home, which the Heritage Wake Forest Homeowners Association had foreclosed on for nonpayment of dues, for $3,800.

The arrest kick-started a federal investigation into Earquhart's real estate transactions.

Authorities said Earquhart illegally obtained eight properties in Wake Forest, Cary, Holly Springs, Durham and Charlotte through HOA foreclosures, using aliases to bid on properties and funneling money through holding companies. He would produce fraudulent documents showing the mortgages had been paid off and that he had clean titles to the properties and would liquidate the holding companies as soon as the properties had been resold, authorities said.

Earquhart didn't cooperate in his trial this week, refusing to be sworn in and refusing to leave his cell in the Harnett County jail, where's he's been held since last year. U.S. marshals eventually forced him to come to court in Raleigh.

The jury also allowed the government to seize more than $1 million in fraudulent cash and property, including gold coins, recording studio equipment and vehicles, to help repay defrauded banks and home buyers.