Industry News

Title company bites dust, leaves home buyers in limbo

Real estate transactions on hold

Capital Title Co. of St. Louis shut down last week, delaying the closings of dozens of home sales and leaving an undetermined amount of money held in escrow by the company unaccounted for. Details of the closure and why it happened were sketchy. Several unnamed sources told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that funds were stolen from the company. Capital was placed in receivership last Tuesday at the request of two companies that underwrote its business, according to David Schulz, a spokesman for First American Title Co. of Santa Ana, one of the underwriters. Land Title Insurance Co. of Des Peres, a First American subsidiary, was the other underwriter. First American said it was investigating an alleged diversion of escrow funds by Capital, a St. Louis-based title insurance agent with 13 offices in the area. All 13 closed on Jan. 18. Robert Jones, a Clayton, Mo., attorney, told the Post-Dispatch his job is to determine what assets Capital may have left and liquidate them. He said it w...