WEDDINGTON, N.C. - A Union County house was raided by the FBI on Friday and the homeowner was charged with federal wire fraud and money laundering.
The FBI bust happened early Friday morning at the house on Cottenfield Circle and Providence Road in Weddington.
James Edward Cox, 56, of Waxhaw and two others obtained in excess of $5 million from their victims in an advanced fee investment scheme, officials in Texas said.
The two-count federal grand jury indictment was unsealed Friday afternoon.
Authorities also charged Kelly Ray Coronado, 49, of Del Rio, Texas, and Gordon Richard Moskowitz, 53, of Sarasota, Florida, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The indictment alleges that from January 2010 to January 2017, the defendants implemented the scheme to get money from multiple victims under false pretenses, promises and representations.
The indictment further alleges that the defendants preyed on vulnerable parties – most of whom operated international nonprofits by promising them large-scale financing in exchange for upfront payments.
The accused used fake business entities, websites and aliases, officials said.
The defendants would put upfront payments and then work together to frustrate law enforcement detection and victim redress, officials said.
The defendants could face up to 20 years in federal prison.
The indictment also seeks the criminal forfeiture of Cox's and Coronado’s residences allegedly used in the scheme.
Neighbors have been complaining about this house for years and town leaders recently took them to court.
That civil case is pending, though there is no confirmation Friday’s FBI bust has anything to do with that case.
“I’ve seen a couple unmarked cars there, that's all,” neighbor Butch Foley said.
FBI agents arrested Cox at the house they raided.
He faces charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Neighbors' complaints arose from heavy traffic from a car repair business on the Coxes' property.
The mayor of Weddington told Channel 9 the commercial business isn't allowed there and violates town ordinances.
He said the town has worked with the Coxes for more than two years, and recently filed that case against them in civil court.
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