Bulletin: NL000120

Date:
April 06, 2002
To:
All Issuing Offices
RE:
Anti-Fraud Plan/Counterfeit Cashier's Check
Dear Associates:

This Bulletin is to advise you, in accordance with Stewart Title Guaranty Company's ("Stewart") Anti-Fraud Plan, that a Stewart policy-issuing agent ("agent") in Arizona was recently presented with a counterfeit cashier's check in the amount of $877,057.00. The following is the fact pattern that gave rise to that agent's loss.

A male person phoned the agent and represented that he was going to make a mortgage loan to his brother, secured by residential property owned by his brother. This person wanted a recorded note and deed of trust as well as owners and lenders policies. A title and escrow order was opened, with the title search confirming an unencumbered piece of property owned by the brother. The male person then requested to pick up the note and deed of trust for attorney review and subsequently returned the notarized note and deed of trust. Included with these documents was a cashier's check drawn on Bank One. The check appeared authentic with no apparent irregularities. The check was then deposited in the agent's escrow account. The person phoned with wiring instructions and the funds were subsequently wired to a California bank. The next day the bank notified the agent that the cashier's check had been returned. Upon speaking with Bank One, the agent learned that the check had not been issued by any Bank One branch, was fraudulent, and contained false serial numbers and signatures. Upon contact with the California Bank that received the wired funds, it was discovered that the funds had been wired again to a gold and coin company. Upon contacting this company, they were informed that an unknown woman had picked up the gold earlier that day.

If you suspect an attempt to defraud or a fraud should ever be perpetrated against you, your agency, or Stewart, please report the activity immediately to:

Patty Hoesl
Claims & Litigation Paralegal
National Legal Department
Stewart Title Guaranty Company
1980 Post Oak Blvd., Suite 710
Houston, Texas 77056
(800) 729-1902
(713) 629-2248 FAX
EMAIL: phoesl@stewart.com

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