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Former El Paso county judge arrested on fraud charges

By: Jamel Valencia and Genevieve Curtis
EL PASO, Texas - A former El Paso county judge who was sentenced to prison earlier this month for public corruption has been rearrested by federal authorities on fraud charges.

Dona Ana County sheriffs officials said 46-year-old Anthony Cobos faces two counts of fraud out of New Mexico. Cobos was the El Paso County judge, the county's highest administrative official, from 2007 to 2010.

Cobos was arrested on the fraud charges Friday at his El Paso home. Authorities said he attempted to deceive two people in New Mexico out of real estate valued at greater than $20,000.

An investigation into Cobos began after a Chaparral couple was notified by a mortgage holder that it was foreclosing on property they purchased from Cobos. The couple claims they bought some land and a mobile home in Chaparral from Cobos.

Officials said the investigation also revealed Cobos was never the legal lien holder of the property, which reportedly belonged to his stepmother, who is deceased.

The couple allegedly entered into a residential lease purchase agreement with Cobos in August 2009, making monthly payments of $506 to Cobos. The terms of the contract also included annual lump sum payments to Cobos.
The monthly installments and lump sum payments totaled $43,290.26.

In June 2013 the couple was given notice by the mortgage company that the last payment made on the property was in November 2012, although the couple reportedly had been paying Cobos since that time.

The couple had also reportedly paid Cobos seven additional payments after the loan went into default.

Doa Ana County sheriffs investigators have the receipts from the couple that detail each payment made to Cobos.

A famiy of six lives in the home in Chaparral. Friday, KFOX14 spoke to the family who said they were advised by investigators not to comment at this time.

Cobos pleaded guilty in September to taking bribes in exchange for his influence in steering a $40 million county bond refinancing contract to an investment bank. He was sentenced Jan. 3 to four years in prison and is scheduled to begin that sentence Feb. 11 in Colorado.

Dona Ana County officials said Cobos will be taken to its detention center Friday afternoon where he will be held on a $50,000 cash-only bond.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday.