Industry News

First American settles kickback probe for $680,000

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First American Title has agreed to pay $680,000 in a settlement with the Department of Housing and Urban Development over a probe of alleged kickbacks involving sham affiliated business partnerships, HUD said today. HUD claimed First American Title Insurance Co., doing business as Memphis Title Co., made payments through alleged sham affiliated businesses in the Memphis area in violation of anti-kickback and unearned fee provisions of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, known as RESPA. First American agreed to make payment to the U.S. Treasury and cease any further business operations involving the alleged sham business partnerships.   "The law is clear on this point," said Brian Montgomery, HUD's assistant secretary for housing and FHA commissioner.  "Parties that perform real work in the mortgage transaction deserve bona fide compensation, but fabricating sham affiliations for the purpose of obscuring kickbacks violates the law." First American spokesman David Schu...