Greensboro Man Sentenced to 32 Years in Prison for Extensive Bank Lien Theft Scheme, Money Laundering, & Aggravated Identity Theft
RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today in federal court Senior United States District Judge W. Earl Britt sentenced XAVIER MILTON EARQUHART, 31, of Greensboro, NC to serve 32 years in prison and 5 years of supervised release on 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. EARQUHART was also ordered to make restitution in the amount of $1,570,561.86, and to forfeit a stash of gold bullion, cash, and studio equipment previously seized by law enforcement. Today’s sentencing follows a three-day jury trial in March in which a jury convicted EARQUHART on all counts.
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.
United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. stated: “This was a crime that hurt not just banks, but also individuals and families who feared they would lose their homes through no fault of their own. The defendant will have plenty of time to think about the harm he has caused during the next 32 years in prison. I want to recognize the great work of IRS Criminal Investigation who tracked down and seized the defendant’s treasure chest filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in gold bullion which will now benefit the victims in this case.”
"Today's announcement exemplifies the intense focus our Special Agent’s engage in when unraveling complex schemes such as this one orchestrated by Xavier Earquhart,” said Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation, Charlotte Field Office, Matthew D. Line. “Earquhart’s scheme was driven by insatiable greed and a blatant disregard for the tremendous damage inflicted on innocent victims. Be assured that IRS Criminal Investigation will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold those who engage in similar behavior fully accountable."
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, and the Wake County Register of Deeds. Assistant United States Attorney William M. Gilmore represented the government in this case.