Nancy Carroll, or Nancy Jackson Spinks, as she is sometimes called, walked into a Tarrant County district courtroom on January 4th with her attorney by her side, her young husband Bubba Spinks sitting on the last bench in the back of the courtroom.
But the 46-year-old left in handcuffs, wasting no time in serving the 10-year sentence bestowed on her that day by Judge George Gallagher as reparation for the more than $8.6 million she stole from 23 victims at Millennium Title in Southlake. She stole funds those clients had entrusted to her through home sales and closings, 1041 Exchanges, and even life insurance funds.
Nancy had plead guilty to misappropriation of fiduciary property and theft of $1.6 million. Her case is one of North Texas’s most outrageous:
Nancy Jackson Carroll’s excessive spending habits and elaborate lifestyle included fur coats, numerous Mercedez-Benz vehicles, horses, more than $75,000 for a swimming pool at her Keller home, $12,500 for a Taylor Swift concert, $4,300 to attend the Academy of Country Music Awards and $100,000 for her second wedding at Rough Creek Lodge and Resort in Erath County.
The former lawyer from Keller, also known as Nancy Jackson Spinks, 46, skimmed money from countless real estate transactions through the years that were funded through her various title companies.
“She is a financial predator in every sense of the word,” prosecutor Nathan Martin told KXAS’s Scott Gordon after the sentencing. “Without a doubt she deserves to be in prison.”
Gordon and Domingo Ramirez, Jr., from the Fort Worth Star Telegram were the other journalists, besides me, in the courtroom for the sentencing, which was scheduled at 9 a.m. but did not begin until well after 10 o’clock. Gordon has been covering the case since Day 1. Ramirez is the Telegram’s crime reporter.
Only Bubba accompanied Nancy and her attorney, Lance Evans — one of Fort Worth’s priciest criminal defense attorneys — into the courtroom. The Texas Department of Insurance was present, as well as four to five of the victims of Nancy Carroll’s white collar crime spree. Few wanted to speak on camera, but Scott Gordon finally persuaded Tarrant County prosecutor Nathan Martin to say a few words. Martin was resolute: financial predator.
I asked Martin if Carroll would ever practice law again in Texas.
“I certainly hope not,” he responded. Carroll relinquished her law license in August of 2016.
I asked if she would try for Shock Probation, as we had heard, where a judge orders a convicted offender to prison for a short time then suspends the remainder of the sentence in favor of probation. The hope is that the initial experience of prison will provide an effective deterrent from recidivism. But no. Martin, in fact, told me he would vigorously oppose any form of early probation for Ms. Carroll.
A “Consultation Setting Plea Offer Acknowledgement” was filed by the District Attorney’s Office, which recommended that Ms. Carroll agree to a sentence of 20 years in the Texas Department of Corrections, agree to an unspecified amount of restitution, and agree to surrender her law, real estate, and insurance licenses permanently. What she got, through negotiation, was 10 years.
Victims told me TDI investigators had worked tirelessly on the case, including the female investigator who went to Chicago to arrest Carroll last year. One of the investigators even told me he had been buying a home when he first started working on the Carroll case. It mad him think twice about the closing process. None of the victims spoke about their cases in court. One included a widow left with two daughters missing $100,000 in insurance funds:
Some of those cases included the estate of Jeremiah Adam Wright. Carroll was hired by Rebecca Wright after her husband, who had two daughters, was killed in a motorcycle accident on Feb. 22, 2005.
Allstate County Mutual Insurance Company issued $100,000 in settlement claims. Carroll faxed a letter to the family saying she would apply for a tax identification number for the estate before depositing the funds to a registry of the court in Wise County.
As of August 2017, no money had been deposited.
Court records filed last month indicated Carroll committed multiple and repeated acts of money laundering throughout North Texas, and continually used stolen money to pay off notes on her own personal real estate purchases. She placed the various real estate assets into obscurely named trusts to hide her ownership and association with purchases.
Some of the real estate assets were in North Richland Hills, Keller, Fort Worth, Henderson County and Haltom City.
Carroll, by the way, penned her extraditing experiences on her trip back to Texas as less than luxurious. She calls herself a “newly self-professed civil rights activist,” and she is suing PTS of America, the transport company that transferred her from jail in Illinois to Texas. Carroll is representing herself, pro se:
On March 4th at approximately 6:00 am, I found myself being summoned from a holding cell in the Lake County Jail, in Waukegan, Illinois, to be transported back to Tarrant County, Texas, for six days in a transport van across the country.
I’m a real estate attorney from Southlake, Texas, an affluent suburb of Dallas. Prior to 2016 I had never been charged with or committed a criminal act or incurred an incident record of any kind beyond a speeding ticket. I’ve never had any mental or medical issues or been medicated beyond Advil, antibiotics and blood pressure medicine. Today I am a newly self-professed civil rights activist, wife, mother of three minor children living in Texas on an ankle monitor awaiting indictment for allegations of embezzling and theft from the title company I owned, Millennium Title. In December 2015 through January 2016 following a prolonged audit by the Texas Department of Insurance, I began negotiations for the sale of my company. After failing to sell the company, I decided in January 2016 to put the company into receivership and move to the Chicago area near my younger sister’s family to start over. At the time I moved, no criminal charges were threatened or pending against me. On February 11th, two weeks after moving and with no notice, I was arrested in Illinois on an arrest warrant from Texas. I would spend nearly 30 days sitting in an Illinois county jail waiting for the state of Texas to file a case against me so that the extradition process could begin. My family and I were told I would be transported to Texas by airplane and accompanied by a Federal Marshall. That was not the case.
My six days of transport from Illinois to Texas were the most dangerous, terrifying, demeaning and inhumane conditions I have ever witnessed. The private transport companies hired by jails and prisons to move inmates across the country disregard all basic human rights and protections.
Carroll once suggested Reese Witherspoon play her in a TV crime drama based on Carroll’s life and crime spree. Perhaps Eva Longoria might be a better fit.
Ramirez writes that Carroll wanted to get in touch with the publisher of The Wolf of Wall Street, and had already started writing the first chapter of her book, which she called “Everything That Glitters is Not Gold.” That may be why prosecutors actually encouraged the press to look further into Carroll’s crime and her claims that she would not be prosecuted because her crime was merely “white collar.”
“I’ll just get a slap on the wrist,” she reportedly said.
They said she operated her title company as a Ponzi scheme, skimming money from transactions to live an elaborate lifestyle. One victim told me she never funded the pay off of his home mortgage when he sold his home and closed with her. He found out when the payments on the home he sold were not being made, the home went into foreclosure, and the mortgage company was trying to find him.
When she was incarcerated, Carroll’s phone calls to family members were recorded. She broke the law even in custody in 2016:
While jailed in Lake Forest, Carroll called her husband several times to withdraw the maximum amount from bank accounts and a PayPal account in what prosecutors say was an attempt to liquidate the accounts so authorities wouldn’t seize the funds she acquired while bankrupting her company.
Also while in custody in Lake Forest, she directed her husband to have her son wipe her cellphone in an attempt to remove evidence in her case.
Prosecutors claim Spinks gave herself the nickname “Millennium Mobster.”
But last Wednesday, Carroll was not laughing. Her voice was tiny and breaking as she responded to questions and signed paperwork. She was tearful and apologized to Judge Gallagher.
“You don’t need to apologize to me,” Judge George Gallagher said. “Your actions have destroyed a lot of lives.”
Bubba, her young husband and the father of her youngest child, stayed in the courtroom alone, until Nancy was led away. They had met when Bubba was 15. The two did not speak or make eye contact. I tried to talk to Bubba, asked him if he was going to press for probation, but he stormed off and out of the courtroom.
Spinks’ attorney, Lance Evans, said she regrets her actions.
“Miss Carroll knows the damages that her actions have caused can never be fully repaired,” Evans said. “But she hopes what happened today is a start.”
As for parole, he told me he’s “not that kind of attorney,” but in two to three years it could likely be considered.
“This is a huge consumer concern, ” said Martin.
Of the $8.6 million Carroll/Spinks was ordered to restitute, $3.6 million will be covered by the Texas Department of Insurance’s policy guaranty fund. The Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association (“TTIGA”) collects the policy guaranty fee from all title insurance transactions to fund the title insurance agent audit function of the Texas Department of Insurance, and to fund the payment of covered escrow account shortages resulting from the insolvency of a title insurance agent.
And guess who pays that fee? Consumers — you and me.