DOJ: Former Raleigh real estate operator defrauded investors, destroyed evidence, threatened estranged wife

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A man who operated a number of real estate companies in Raleigh was charged with money laundering, fraud, and obstruction of justice, as well as firearms offenses associated with threatening his estranged wife.

The Department of Justice said Tuesday that 37-year-old Joshua Matthew Houchins of Sanford used the real estate businesses to defraud real estate investors. The release said he operated Rosshire Development LLC, Greenstone Ventures LLC, and modern South Development LLC from 2014 to 2018.

Houchins solicited investments by telling victims their money would be “put to work” on a specific property. He also said the investments would be secured by deeds of trust filed with the county register of deeds. However, he didn’t put all investor funds to work on the properties. Instead, he was accused of regularly using investor funds on other properties or on personal expenses, the release said.

Also, investor promissory notes weren’t secured by a deed of trust, as Houchins promised. In some instances, the DOJ said he didn’t even own the property that was the subject of the investment. As such, he couldn’t truthfully grant a deed of trust to the investor.

The indictment also said Houchins, after diverting money away from the property on which funds were meant to be spent, failed to develop and sell the properties. He then defaulted on the notes by failing to pay investors their promised returns. They were unable to foreclose on the investment properties because Houchins hadn’t secured promissory notes with a deed of trust filed, resulting in losses to the investors, the release said.

Furthermore, Houchins admitted in February he “destroyed all of the evidence” after producing a small number of documents when subpoenaed.

Finally, the indictment said Houchins, who had recently separated from his wife, began sending her harassing messages. His wife obtained a domestic violence protection order that barred him from contacting, threatening, or harassing her, the release said.

Houchins’ felon status had already prevented him from possessing a firearm, but the domestic violence protective order further prohibited that.

In March, Houchins told friends of his wife she had “run to the police” and he has “no mercy on a lying rat.” Then, about a month later, the indictment said Houchins sent threats to his wife’s friends and family. Those threats included photographs of him wearing a mask and a tactical vest, the release said.

Houchins was arrested following internet searches for “killing your wife over love.” He was in possession of an AR-15, four magazines, a double-canister magazine containing 100 rounds of ammunition, two boxes of .223-caliber ammunition, and a tactical vest, the release said.

Houchins is charged with:

  • 9 counts of wire fraud, each of which carry a punishment of up to 20 years in prison
  • 3 counts of conducting monetary transactions in criminally derived property, each of which carry a punishment of up to 10 years in prison
  • Obstruction of justice, which carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison
  • Possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a firearm by a person with a DVPO, with each charge carrying a maximum punishment of up to 10 years in prison

Houchins has a hearing scheduled for Sept. 11.

The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and North Carolina Secretary of State. The Apex Police Department, Sanford Police Department, and Wake County Sheriff’s Office provided assistance.

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