Upon receipt of the title report, Nancy, Commercial Escrow Officer for Fidelity National Title, discovered she had a lot of work to do. The search found several utility liens, three years of delinquent property taxes and an uninsured deed.
Nancy called the offices of the LLC, which we will call "123 Investments, LLC," to inquire about the grantors on the Quitclaim Deed. The managing member explained the two people who executed the deed, Anita Mann and Corey O. Graff, were friends of his. Nancy asked for their phone numbers.
The managing member would not give her their phone numbers, instead he told Nancy he would have Mann and Graff call her. This was the first red flag for Nancy.
Several days later Nancy had not heard from Mann or Graff so she emailed 123 Investments, explaining that Ms. Mann and Mr. Graff needed to sign a new deed conveying title. She further explained the deed needed to be notarized in accordance with the Company's Document Execution Guidelines so the title officer would approve the deed.
The next day she received a reply to her email. Attached was a copy of a new deed which was not executed properly. Nancy replied she needed to speak directly to the Grantors. The LLC provided her with a phone number for Graff, and Nancy immediately called him.
Graff answered her call. Nancy explained the reason for her call. Graff indicated he knew she would be calling and asked her to email the deed to him so he could sign it and obtain Mann's signature. He would be sure it was notarized in accordance with the guidelines she sent to the managing member.
The newly executed deed was returned to Fidelity National Title by overnight delivery. Nancy compared the signatures on it to the signatures on the deed recorded last year. The signatures did not match.
Then Nancy tried to confirm whether the notary who acknowledged the deed met the Document Execution Guidelines. She could not find the notary on the approved notary list. The notary did not work for Bancserv©. The document was not notarized under the supervision of an attorney. So who was the notary?
The lender called Nancy to find out her progress. She explained to the lender she had the deed in hand but was unable to confirm whether the notary met the Company's underwriting requirements. The lender said they knew the notary and that they worked for 123 Investments, LLC. Nancy knew she could not accept the deed; besides her escrow gut was telling her this was surely a fraud.
Nancy contacted the managing member at 123 Investments, LLC and explained she would not proceed with closing this loan unless Mann and Graff came to her office in person to sign in front of her. Neither Mann nor Graff ever came to her office.
Nancy stuck to her guns, cancelled the transaction and as a result protected the Company from a potential claim. The new loan policy would have been insured by the lender for $45,000.
The parties tried several times to deceive Nancy. Who knows who she was really talking to or emailing with? Surely it was not Graff or this deal would have been able to successfully close. Thank you Nancy for honoring the Company's underwriting requirements.