On November 22, 2017, a loan transaction for $150,000 was opened with Lorena Arellano, an escrow officer with Chicago Title of Nevada, by the home owner. Their instructions were to open an escrow for a new loan in favor of a private party using their rental property in Las Vegas as the collateral. Lorena opened the order and placed an order for a title report.
She received instructions from the private party lender to charge $8,300 as an origination fee at closing. The loan was to be repaid with 12% interest and became due and payable in full in three years. The property securing the loan is worth $243,000.
Lorena worked up the file and contacted the borrowers to schedule a signing appointment. The borrowers lived in Westminster, California, so Lorena was going to schedule the signing with a mobile signing agent in the area.
The borrowers declined the mobile signing agent and said they were driving to Lorena's office in Henderson, Nevada, to sign their documents. On December 7, 2017, the borrowers supposedly drove from Westminster to Henderson — a four hour trip — to sign their loan documents in Lorena's office.
The preliminary report required a Statement of Information to be completed by the borrowers and provided to the title officer to review since the property was free and clear of encumbrances. Lorena obtained the Statement of Information from the borrowers at the signing and sent it to John Alvarez, the title officer.
The names matched, the taxpayer identification numbers matched, but the mailing addresses did not match. The tax bill showed it was being sent to Arcadia. The Statement of Information listed that as a former address, but now the borrowers supposedly lived in Westminster. The Westminster address does not even exist.
John pulled documents from a prior file and noticed the signatures were completely different. He sent the statements to Mike Gilliam, the title manager, for comparison, and the signatures were determined to be a forgery. The Company refused to close and insure the loan, and cancelled the order.
John's astute recognition of the forgery saved the Company from a $150,000 potential claim from the insured lender and a possible claim from real property owners for clouding title to their property with a forged deed of trust. For his efforts the Company has rewarded John $1,500 and a letter of recognition.