On September 6, 2006, John Mattes received national attention when he was attacked by two people while investigating an alleged real estate scam. He was injured with cracked ribs, bite wounds and cuts to his face. The attacking scene was caught on tape by his cameraman Dennis Waldrop.
While Mattes recovered, the couple that attacked him, Sam Suleiman and Rosa Barraza, faced multiple charges. One week after the attack, Mattes returned to XETV to do an investigative report on mortgage fraud.
Suleiman went on cable television and claimed he was the victim.
On September 12, the couple pled not guilty in a San Diego courtroom. Suleiman faced ten years and eight months for battery causing great bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, making a criminal threat and intimidating a witness.
Suleiman got a plea bargain and served less than one year in jail. His wife got probation.
They have never been charged in the massive mortgage fraud scheme Mattes uncovered. All the properties Mattes revealed as linked to Sulieman have been foreclosed and not a dime ever recovered from the losses. Today Sulieman works as a “mortgage modification expert”.
Since the attack, Mattes has investigated and reported on numerous consumer schemes all over the country. His investigations have uncovered health Insurance scams, banking swindles, and mortgage modification shemes that have left homeowners defrauded and foreclosed. His reporting has garnered numerous Emmys and other awards for his stories.