BrokerageIndustry News

California real estate brokerage targeted in kickback probe

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A California real estate brokerage has been accused by the state of accepting kickbacks in exchange for referring home buyers and sellers to title insurance companies. R.J. Young Co., a Westlake Village, Calif.-based real estate broker, is accused of accepting "at least $15,996.91" in 2004 for referrals of its sellers and buyers to title companies owned by Fidelity National Financial. In an accusation, which is an administrative document, the California Department of Real Estate alleges that the seven-agent brokerage also committed "fraud or dishonest dealing" by failing to disclose to sellers that the brokerage would be paid by title insurance companies for sending them there. This is the first time the state has targeted a real estate brokerage in its ongoing investigation of alleged title insurance kickbacks, which are prohibited under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and some state laws. In November, two of the nation's largest title insurers agreed to pay a total of $22....