Key tip led to California man who confessed to major Cleveland housing fraud scam

Exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation discovery

CLEVELAND - A key tip led to the discovery of a California man who confessed on camera to a major Cleveland housing fraud scam.

Marc Tow was a business partner for a company called EZ Access Funding based in Newport Beach, California. The company bought up at least 129 foreclosed homes across Cleveland and claimed to investors that it would rehab them.

Instead, the company closed and Tow and his partner, Michael Alexander, disappeared, leaving behind scores of vacant homes.

Our 5 On Your Side investigative team traveled to southern California where we spent four days interviewing investors, and checking former business locations where Tow and Alexander had worked.

Tow had told investors, the California Bar Association and others he had moved to Kansas.

But our exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation discovered Tow in southern California where he admitted his role in the fraud on camera. And it turns out--a single traffic ticket led us straight to his door.

Tow had vanished from every office and home listed under his name. So we checked with court records in California and combed through traffic violations issued for anyone with a similar name.

One of those tickets led us to Marc Tow--who was nowhere near Kansas. Instead, he told us he was staying at a relative's home and just happened to be in town the day we arrived with cameras rolling.

Meanwhile, housing court records show EZ Access has been assessed $335,000 in potential housing code fines, $575,000 in unpaid taxes and a whopping $32 million in contempt sanctions for failure to appear in housing court.

[Click here for a map of EZ Access-owned properties in the Cleveland area http://on.wews.com/xTA0qQ ]

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