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ipd_logo Irvine Police Department Press Release OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF POLICE
Public Information Office
1 Civic Center Plaza
Irvine, CA 92606
(949) 724-7216
www.irvinepd.org
 
11/29/2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE #11/29/2012
 
Subject : Disbarred Attorney Arrested on Charges of Embezzling over $469,000 for Gambling
 
Contact : Julia Engen, Lieutenant 949-724-7112 jengen@cityofirvine.org
 
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SANTA ANA A former vice president of a title insurance company was arrested today for stealing over $469,000 from his company to spend on gambling. Wayne Martin Fong, 50, Tustin, is charged with seven felony counts of grand theft and five felony counts of money laundering with allegations and sentencing enhancements for causing over $100,000 in loss, aggravated white collar crime over $100,000 and property loss over $200,000. If convicted, Fong faces a maximum sentence of 13 years and four months in state prison. The defendant was arrested today by the Irvine Police Department (IPD) and is being held on $300,000 bail. He must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. Fong is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ–1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

Fong is accused of being hired in 1999 by Fidelity National Title Group (Fidelity) as the Associate Counsel and Vice President. He is accused of being responsible for working with and overseeing contracts with vendors who searched for and obtained missing assets for the company.

The defendant is accused of signing a service agreement on behalf of Fidelity with a vendor, Global Discoveries (Global), in March 2009. In July 2009, Fong is accused of contacting Global, requesting by email to have all payments sent to a different account, and providing them with a different email address, phone number and mailing address. The defendant is accused of embezzling over $469,000 by having payments intended for Fidelity deposited into his own personal account and using the stolen money for gambling.

One of Fidelity's vendors became suspicious about the change in email address, bank account number and mailing address provided to them by Fong. The case was reported to IPD, who investigated this case. At the time of the crime, Fong was a licensed attorney but has since been disbarred. The defendant was also a former police officer in the state of New York.

 

 
 

MORAL OF THE STORY

The Company remits thousands of payments every business day, which sometimes result in a refund or sometimes cannot be properly applied by the payee. In either case, the funds do not always make it back to the issuing office to be reissued to the rightful owner, typically the buyer or seller. When this happens the payees will often escheat the funds to the state in our Company's name. The state posts on their website all unclaimed property.

The FNF Family of Companies has hundreds of thousands of dollars in unclaimed property posted to various state websites. Unless the Company can determine with certainty the rightful owner of the funds, they do not make an effort to claim the funds. The funds do not belong to our Company, if they were issued as payment on behalf of principal. As a result, if an employee finds unclaimed property or is contacted by a service to assist in claiming property posted in the Company's name, they should refer the matter to FNF's Unclaimed Property Group to process.

 
 
 
 
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