Industry News

HUD settles kickback cases with New England attorney, appraiser

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development on Wednesday announced separate settlements with two New England-based real estate companies that were allegedly paying kickbacks for business referrals. In the first settlement, HUD and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) reached an agreement with a Boston-area real estate closing attorney for violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, known as RESPA. HUD determined that R. Norman Peters, a member of the board of directors of both 1-800-East-West Mortgage (East-West) and its parent bank, Commerce Bank & Trust Co., of Worcester, Mass., as well as an attorney with the firm Peters & Sowyrda in Worcester, paid for tickets to a Boston Red Sox game and a New England Patriots' event, and upscale restaurant gift certificates. HUD found these tickets and gift certificates were then provided to East-West and its employees to promote referrals of loan closings from East-West to Peters' firm. Peters agreed to pay a civi...