PHOENIX – Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced a judge sentenced Melissa Maureen Coe to 4 years in prison after stealing more than $450,000 from 14 victims throughout Arizona. Coe used different real estate scams to steal thousands from homebuyers, homeowners, and/or real estate investors. Coe had close friendships with many of the 14 victims she defrauded.
"Coe preyed on her closest friends, earning their trust and betraying them," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. "In many cases, she stole the victims’ life savings or the money saved for their kids' college education."
Coe mainly engaged in two fraudulent real estate schemes: (1) taking the victims’ money to help them purchase homes or obtain mortgage loan modifications — falsely representing herself as a real estate agent or lawyer in some of the transactions; and (2) soliciting victims to invest in her real estate company she claimed purchased foreclosed homes at auction to flip.
Coe took all the victims’ money and used it to pay for her own personal expenses and lifestyle, or to pay back other victims in a pyramid-like scheme. In one instance, Coe used a victim’s check to make a down payment on her own personal residence. The victims' money was never used to purchase homes or obtain loan modifications. Also, Coe never operated a real estate investment company that purchased foreclosed homes at auction.
In committing these crimes, Coe created forged documents purportedly from title companies, escrow companies, and prominent lawyers in Phoenix.
Coe plead guilty to Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices, Attempted Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices, Forgery, and Theft. The Court sentenced Coe to an aggravated term of 4 years in prison and 5 years of probation with white collar terms. The judge also ordered Coe to pay back more than $450,000 to the victims.
Assistant Attorneys General Cynthia Giltner and Maura Quigley prosecuted this case.
Special Agent Peggy O'Shea with the AZAG Special Investigations Section investigated this case.
For additional information, members of the media may contact Mia Garcia, Director of Media Relations at (602) 339-5895 or Mia.Garcia@azag.gov.