Bulletin: SA2014024

Date:
October 09, 2014
To:
All Arkansas Issuing Offices
RE:
SPECIAL ALERT - Arkansas Counterfeit Check Scam

Dear Associates:

Attached is a News Release from the Arkansas Department of Insurance in which State Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford warns of a counterfeit check scam that has defrauded at least one Arkansas title office. It has been reported that several other Arkansas title offices have been contacted in attempts to perpetrate the fraud on them as well.

In this situation, a title agent was asked to handle a closing. The transaction was referred by an out-of-state escrow officer. The title agent accepted a $75,000.00 cashier’s check. The buyer instructed the title agent to disburse $45,000.00 to the seller. The disbursement was made. The next day, the title agent learned that the $75,000.00 cashier’s check was counterfeit.

Common features of this scheme are the use of a cashier’s check, a request for a partial disbursement, and a commercial property that exists but isn’t actually for sale.

The News Release requests anyone who feels that they may have been targeted by this scheme to contact the Criminal Investigation Division of the Arkansas Department of Insurance at 866-660-0888.

As a reminder, before closing a transaction, all issuing offices must search the names of the parties to the transaction, including the seller, buyer/borrower, payoff lender, and new lender, using the Special Alerts database, which may be accessed at http://specialalerts.stewart.com/ or as a link from Stewart.com and/or Virtual Underwriter.

For on-line viewing of this and other bulletins, please log onto www.vuwriter.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:
SLS2010013 Check Fraud Schemes
 
SLS2011005 Disbursement Practices: Good Funds vs. Collected Funds [Revised 04-27-12]
Underwriting Manual:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None