Walter Scott Fox III, better known as Scott Fox, was a fixture in the Portland sailing community for at least the last 20 years. The 56 year old was a longtime member of the Portland Yacht Club, and owned The Boathouse, a boating supply store in Falmouth’s Handyboat complex. He looked like a successful businessman but he spent much of the last 20 years hiding a massive lie.
Fox worked for many years as a commercial loan officer for KeyBank. While he was there, he opened loans and lines of credit in the names of business clients without their permission and withdrew the funds for his personal use. Some of the debt had to be secured by collateral and Fox faked that too. He created fake certificates purporting to show that he owned significant investments. Through his decades of membership at the Portland Yacht Club, Fox befriended well-respected finance executives and he forged of their signatures on those fake documents.
The scheme collapsed when Fox was unable to increase a line of credit to continue paying the interest on the loans. By August of 2012, loans were in default and bank management started asking questions about the fraudulent accounts. Fox resigned from KeyBank suddenly in September of 2012, closed The Boathouse, and later moved to Georgia with his wife.
In September of 2013 Fox’s defense lawyer contacted the U.S. Attorney's Office and arranged for him to come clean. By Thanksgiving, Fox had signed a plea agreement and on February 4, 2014 he walked into Federal Court in Portland, Maine and quietly pled guilty to one of the largest financial crimes in Maine's recent history.
Court documents reference “CNB” a woman who Scott Fox was having an affair with for several years. In May 2011, Fox paid $180,000 in cash for a house at 17 Critter Lane in Windham, Maine and he gave the property to CNB shortly after purchasing it. This is the same property Fox has now agreed to forfeit.
The registry of deeds shows that CNB is Cherish Nicole Burgess, a 25 year old woman from the Bangor area. She has a checkered past and seems to have developed a knack for dating men who end up in jail, though usually for drug trafficking. She has a few arrests on her record for drug offenses and theft, but nothing major. It does not appear that she faces any charges in connection with Fox’s fraud.
Scott Fox plead guilty to two crimes: Bank fraud and Tax Evasion. In total, the fraud amounted to $14,000,000 and Fox never claimed any of that money as income. He has a plea agreement but it does not guarantee what the sentence will be. The agreement does nail down a few things:
- Fox waives his right to appeal a sentence that does not exceed 135 months or 11 years 3 months.
- He agrees to pay $8,196,181.15 restitution to KeyBank
- He agrees to pay $1,349,862 restitution to the IRS
- He agrees to forfeit a property at 17 Critter Lane in Windham, Maine
After entering his guilty a plea, Scott Fox was released on bail. He has conditions of home confinement and electronic monitoring. He will reside at his home in the Atlanta, Georgia area awaiting sentencing scheduled for May 28, 2014 in Portland Federal Court.