Bulletin: SLS00199

Date:
April 30, 2004
To:
All Issuing Offices
RE:
Fraudulent Reconveyance Scam
Dear Associates:

In accordance with Stewart Information Services Corporation's ("SISCO") Anti-Fraud Plan, this Bulletin is to advise you that in many western states, title personnel have observed the ?notarial protest? fraudulent reconveyance scam. The basic steps to the scam are as follows:

A valid Deed of Trust is of record.
The borrower sends the lender a "default notice" and a "substitution of trustee" form. These documents purport to obligate the lender to take specific action within a specific time period (e.g. 72 hours).
When the lender does not take action, a substitution of trustee document is executed and recorded. The document is usually signed by the borrower as the "Settlor". By signing as "Settlor," the borrower purports to sign in his or her capacity as "agent" for the lender.
A request for reconveyance is also made by the "Settlor&".
A reconveyance is executed by the Substitute Trustee and recorded. It often cites that the note has been paid in full.
There are websites that offer this type of "debt elimination service." This scam relies, in part, on the failure of tile companies to note irregularities in the documents that purport to appoint a substitute trustee or the reconveyance of the deed of trust. Such irregularities typically include the borrower signing on behalf of the lender.

If you suspect an attempt to defraud or a fraud should ever be perpetrated against any Stewart Family Underwriter and/or its agents, please report the activity immediately to:

Patricia Hoesl
Claim & Litigation Paralegal
Stewart Title Guaranty Company
1980 Post Oak Boulevard, Suite 710
Houston, TX 77056
1-800-729-1902
Email: phoesl@stewart.com

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THIS BULLETIN IS FURNISHED TO INFORM YOU OF CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS. AS A REMINDER, YOU ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTENT ON VIRTUAL UNDERWRITER  AS IT EXISTS FROM TIME TO TIME AS IT APPLIES TO YOU, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. OUR UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS DO NOT AUTHORIZE OUR ISSUING AGENTS TO ENGAGE IN SETTLEMENTS OR CLOSINGS ON BEHALF OF STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY. THIS BULLETIN IS NOT INTENDED TO DIRECT YOUR ESCROW OR SETTLEMENT PRACTICES OR TO CHANGE PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS. CONFIDENTIAL, PROPRIETARY, OR NONPUBLIC PERSONAL INFORMATION SHOULD NEVER BE SHARED OR DISSEMINATED EXCEPT AS ALLOWED BY LAW. IF APPLICABLE STATE LAW OR REGULATION IMPOSES ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS, YOU SHOULD CONTINUE TO COMPLY WITH THOSE REQUIREMENTS.

References

Bulletins Replaced:
None
Related Bulletins:
NL000084 Stewart Title Guaranty Company Antifraud Plan
Underwriting Manual:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None