Archives For escrow theft

George Kalivretenos, 59, Miami Beach, Florida, was sentenced to 84 months in prison for a wire fraud and money laundering scheme in which he defrauded borrowers of approximately $5.6 million. Kalivretenos was also ordered to pay $4.18 million in restitution as part of his sentence.

Kalivrentenos pleaded guilty on August 13, 2015. According to court documents, Kalivretenos operated and controlled Jasmine Capital and Jasmine Resources Capital Group, which were lending entities. He also owned and controlled two escrow companies, Escrow Services, LLC, and Escrow Title Services, LLC. Kalivretenos promised to lend companies and individuals millions of dollars after they sent a deposit of 10 percent of the loan amount to a third party escrow company. However, Kalivretenos concealed his control over the escrow company from borrowers. Once the escrow company received the borrowers’ deposits, Kalivretenos spent borrowers’ funds on personal expenses, including two Rolls Royces, a penthouse condominium rented at $18,000 per month, and hotel stays at the Ritz Carlton and Crowne Plaza. He also transferred substantial funds to overseas accounts. Continue Reading…

After a four-week jury trial, New York State Senator John Sampson was convicted by a federal jury in Brooklyn, New York, for one count of obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements to federal agents.

The guilty verdicts follow evidence at trial and publicly filed documents establishing that, among other things, Sampson, as an attorney practicing in Brooklyn, New York embezzled funds he held in escrow from the sale of real estate properties. Concerned that his theft might be discovered by law enforcement, in 2006 Sampson asked an associate for $188,500 to replenish the stolen funds. In exchange, Sampson used his position as a Senator to assist the associate’s real estate business interests. Continue Reading…

Richard C. Roney, Jr., 46, former title company owner, Laurel Springs, New Jersey, was charged by information with four counts of wire fraud related to an alleged scheme that cost lenders more than $750,000 and involved escrow theft.

Escrow theft, also known in the industry as escrow defalcation, causes significant and immediate losses to homeowners and lenders. On June 4, 2012, Demotech published a study on this form of fraud entitled Escrow Theft: Today’s Challenge in Title Insurance.  The Study examined the relationship between strong state regulations and escrow theft and concluded, unsurprisingly, that when states that adopted strong licensing requirements, strict oversight and financial responsibility regulations regarding escrow agents, escrow theft loss ratios were lower.  Continue Reading…

The Monroe County, Pennsylvania Office of the District Attorney is warning citizens of a scam targeting homebuyers with pending purchases in Monroe County, Pennsylvania.

In this scam, dubbed the “Man in the Email” scam by the FBI, unwitting buyers are duped into wiring the closing costs and down payment to an out-of-state bank account when they receive closing instructions from their realtor or title company.  In reality, the email was sent by someone who had hacked into the email account of the realtor or title agent, and the instructions are bogus – directing the homebuyer to wire the funds to a bank account under the control of the scammers.

Although this press release was local to Pennsylvania, this scam is happening across the country and being directed and all parties that wire funds into escrow accounts – homebuyers and lenders. Continue Reading…