Agency Operations

Fraud Insights Vol. 1 Issue 5 PDF Print E-mail

Hair Raising Stories from Across the Nation

By Lisa A. Tyler
National Escrow Administrator

First, thanks to all of you who have taken the time to submit your heroic stories of how you and others have gone the extra mile to protect the Company - and the public it serves – from real estate fraud. Second, if you haven't been a money winner yet, don't give up – we are still reviewing submissions and might be contacting you soon.

Congratulations to Charlotte Martinez from Chicago Title's Alameda County, California operation. She is this month's $500 reward winner for her contributions toward protecting the Company and her customers from insuring a forged deed in the chain of title. Read more about her personal heroics in the story, "Charlotte's Web," in this edition of Fraud Insights.

"Take the Money and Run!" describes the dangers of duplicate wires. This story will make any escrow officer cringe. It is an ugly, but true story.

The next story, "No Income Verification Loans," covers a controversial topic regarding employees. Read about two employees who individually had been encouraged to show inflated incomes on their own personal real estate loans. Read the Company's position regarding this type of mortgage fraud.

Feedback from the Field…

I absolutely love the feedback this eNewsletter generates. Here are a few of the latest tips I have received from the field, which I thought you might find interesting and useful.

Claudia M. Graham, commercial claims counsel, gives the following advice: "Never conduct a closing in a truck stop, Denny's® or a Whataburger®!" All three were actual closing locations in prior claims cases. It might sound funny at first, but think about the risk you put yourself in by conducting business outside of the office with parties who are typically unknown to you.

Dick Bales from our Chicago Title Operation in Wheaton, Illinois shares this tip:

"As you may know, Donald Cole sent out a memo dated October 7, 2005, detailing new procedures in fraud prevention.  In the memo he made the following statement: 

If the seller, buyer or third party presents to you at or prior to closing a release for an uncancelled loan, you must contact the lender for confirmation that the loan has been released.  Use independent means to obtain the lender's telephone number.  Do not rely upon a number supplied by the parties to the transaction.

I have discovered my own helpful ‘independent means' to verify a lender's phone number. If an owner provides you with a phone number, consider going to Google and typing in the phone number with the area code.  For example:  630-555-5555.  If this is a ‘real' business phone number, chances are great that Google will give you information to confirm the validity of the phone number."

Do you have any helpful tips or ideas used to combat fraud you would like to share with your colleagues? If so, please e-mail your comments to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Charlotte's Web

A commercial escrow officer deals with a suspicious seller and catches a forged deed in her web!

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Take the Money and Run!

To some, being a good wife means being supportive. To this wife, being a good spouse means committing fraud.

More »

No Income Verification Loans

These stories represent a controversial topic involving our employees and their integrity. Believe it or not, these situations have come up more than once in recent months.

More »


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