Sunday, December 27, 2009

Title Agent Accused Of Swiping $2.7M+ In Escrow Funds Due To Lienholders In Home Refinancing Scam; Local Chief Deputy Prosecutor Among 12+ Victims

In Allen County, Indiana, The Journal Gazette reports:
  • Just over a month after the state suspended his license, a Fort Wayne title insurance broker faces criminal charges accusing him of misappropriating more than $2.7 million in title funds. Joseph A. Garretson, 36, [...] is charged in Allen Superior Court with conversion or misappropriation of title insurance escrow funds, corrupt business influence and unlawful loan origination activities, all felonies. Garretson is accused of arranging mortgage refinancing loans for a number of area clients and then not using the money to pay off the initial loans, causing mortgage holders to default, according to court documents.

  • In October, Allen County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Michael McAlexander took a call from a man expressing concern about the length of time it was taking for his previous mortgage to be paid off after he refinanced using title insurance, settlement and escrow services from Garretson and Fort Wayne Title [...].

  • McAlexander realized he also had used the services of Fort Wayne Title and, after contacting his original mortgage holder, found his loan also had not been paid off using the proceeds of the refinancing, according to court documents.

For more, see Mortgage refinancing scheme alleged (Broker accused of arranging new loans, not paying off old).

(1) According to the story, the criminal filing details more than a dozen other instances occurring from January 2006 to November 2009 in which Garretson allegedly failed to pay off mortgage loans in refinancing transactions and regular mortgage transactions, leaving customers on the hook for the remaining original loan amounts. EscrowRipOffKappa

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