The underwriter of a Missouri-based title insurer claims $4.5 million is missing from the company’s accounts, after a scheme to conceal shortages by transferring money between at least 49 bank accounts went awry.

The allegations against Nixa, Mo.-based Guaranty Title Co. are detailed in a June 27 lawsuit filed by underwriter Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Co., the Springfield News-Leader reported.

The scheme began unraveling on June 18 when Great Southern Bank froze 15 escrow accounts due to insufficient funds, the lawsuit alleges.

Guaranty Title closed its doors the next day and one of the company’s owners, Kathy Allen, admitted a scheme to conceal missing funds, according to an affidavit signed by a LandAmerica Title Insurance Co. auditor.

Commonwealth is suing Guaranty Title for breach of contract, alleging the company never reported more than 500 policies issued in Commonwealth’s name, and withheld more than $400,000 in premiums.

Commonwealth has asked Christian County Circuit Court Judge Mark Orr to place Guaranty Title’s property and assets in receivership. The News-Leader said 45 Guaranty Title employees have lost their jobs.

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