in this issue

By Lisa A. Tyler
National Escrow Administrator

This edition contains stories from three heroic colleagues who saved the Company from potential losses and claims.

In southern California, an independent escrow officer placed an order for title insurance with a title company and worked closely with the title officer towards closing the transaction. The independent escrow officer relied on the resources and expertise the title company had available to them. In this story, red flag after red flag popped up. The escrow officer shared every detail with Neil Viner, Title Officer with Lawyers Title Company in Burbank, California, who thoroughly reviewed the documents and was able to confirm their suspicions. Read "FAKE ids" for more information. 

The Company implemented a simple, yet effective procedure to identify and stop thieves trying to sell vacant land out from under real property owners. The best way for settlement agents to ensure they are dealing with the true property owner is to reach out to the owner at the tax bill mailing address. This has proven to be effective time and time again, as demonstrated in this story. Read "STOP! thief!" for the details. 

Combating wire fraud has become a part of daily life. It has been devastating on our industry and wreaked havoc on many real estate transactions. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, wire fraud includes the following elements: 

  1. A scheme to defraud by means of false pretenses,
  2. Defendant's knowing and willful participation in the scheme, with intent to defraud, and
  3. Use of interstate wire communications in furtherance of scheme.

Fortunately, the industry has learned a lot about the methods used by the scammers and are succeeding in stopping these criminals in their tracks. The article titled "THE ol' switcheroo" demonstrates how Michelle Lopez, Escrow Officer, Chicago Title Company, used her skills to avoid becoming a victim. 

Happy New Year! This year we are providing readers with insight on money laundering and cash reporting obligations required of settlement agents. The first article of the new year is titled "INTRODUCTION to money laundering." Do not miss this great read or the next eleven months of insightful information.

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