Industry News

Fidelity settles alleged New Mexico RESPA violations

HUD claims title insurer provided kickbacks to builder

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Fidelity National Title Insurance broke the law by underwriting a New Mexico builder's grand-opening events, homeowner seminars, and dinners for real estate agents, federal regulators investigating settlement services practices in Albuquerque allege. Fidelity's business arrangement with Longford Homes of New Mexico Inc. violated anti-kickback and referral fee provisions of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said today in announcing settlements with both companies. Fidelity also furnished real estate agents with "just sold" and "just listed" postcards and listing agreements at no cost or below cost, and provided Longford with a prepaid postage meter, HUD alleged. HUD investigators said Fidelity granted Longford a $25,000 line of credit in exchange for referrals of settlement service business. Longford used the line of credit to buy gift certificates, event tickets and dinners for its own employees and real estate agents...