Bulletin: NY000493

Date:
January 20, 2012
To:
All New York State Agents, Office Counsel and Managers
RE:
Special Alerts

This bulletin is to remind you that Stewart Title Insurance Company requires verification of party names through the Special Alerts database available at http://specialalerts.stewart.com/index.jsp to determine if there are any closing/fraud alerts involving the parties to the transaction and to meet the requirements under the US Patriot Act to verify that the parties to the transaction (sellers, buyers/borrowers, individual or foreign lenders, including agents or other parties providing funds to closing or receiving any significant funds from closing) are not listed on the Specially Designated Nationals List. The Special Alerts database is automatically updated with the requisite Patriot Act information on a daily basis.

The penalties for violations of the US Patriot Act are stringent, including heavy fines and/or imprisonment.

There are 3 statutes that US Patriot Act violations fall under for penalties. 18 USC §1956 has to do with laundering of monetary instruments.  Section (a)(1)(B)(ii) imposes a fine of not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater, or imprisonment for not more than 20 years, or both.

18 USC §1957 has to do with engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.  Here the property needs to be of greater value than $10,000.  Under section (b)(1) of this section, the fine is twice the amount of the criminally derived property involved in the transaction or imprisonment for not more than 10 years or both.

Lastly, 18 USC 2332d relates to financial transactions. If a US person knows or has reasonable cause to know that you are supporting international terrorism and engage in a financial transaction with the government you shall be fined and imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.

In order to ensure that you meet the requirements of the US Patriot Act, please be sure to search the Special Alerts database for verification of party names on every transaction. 

For additional guidance regarding the procedure for determining a "match" and/or handling potential "matches", please review our National Bulletin SLS00158.

In addition to the required search of the Special Alerts database, if you are aware of any alert or cautionary memorandum issued by Stewart or any other underwriter, you may not issue a Stewart policy without disclosure to, and prior written approval from, a Stewart Agency Legal Services representative, with respect thereto.

If you have any questions relating to this or other bulletins, please contact a Stewart Title Insurance Company underwriter.

For on-line viewing of this and other bulletins, log onto: www.stewartnewyork.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.