Suspect in Cleveland foreclosure schemes backs out of plea deal; what's next for Marc Tow?

CLEVELAND - A California man, accused of operating one of Cleveland's largest foreclosure scams, refused Wednesday to accept a plea deal on corruption charges following an exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation.

Marc Tow, 62, was indicted by a Cuyahoga County grand jury on Aug. 22, 2012 following a series of reports that aired on NewsChannel5 linking him to what prosecutors called one of the largest foreclosure scams in Ohio.

It will now be up to Cuyahoga County prosecutors, along with Cleveland housing court officials, to determine whether or not they will throw the book at Tow or, if they will try to find a way to indict any of Tow's alleged co-conspirators.

Tow, along with business associate Michael Alexander, operated a company called EZ Access Funding based in Newport Beach, Calif.

EZ Access lured investors with promises of rehabilitating foreclosed homes and selling them for substantial profit.

Instead, investors told NewsChanne5 that Tow and Alexander simply disappeared, along with their cash, leaving more than 130 foreclosed homes abandoned across Cuyahoga County.

Repeated efforts by Cleveland Housing Court officials to reach EZ Access Funding were ignored and the company piled up citations and fines.

Tow even sent letters to investors advising them he had left the state and moved to Kansas City.

Our exclusive investigation found Tow still living in Southern California and confronted him with complaints filed by investor. At the time, Tow blamed his business partner, Alexander, who has not been charged.

"You could blame it on me, you could blame it on Michael Alexander," Tow said. "But there are a lot more people at fault in this big game than just me. Mr. Alexander is a big part of the fraud."

Six months after our reports aired, Tow was indicted and later fled to Mexico where he was held by U.S. immigration officials until he was extradited to Ohio in January to face criminal charges.

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