Real estate settlement firm settles government accusations of fraud

Monday, February 28th 2005, 1:18 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A real estate settlement firm will pay $6.2 million in fines and revamp its corporate practices to settle government allegations that it falsified loan documents, federal housing and banking officials said Monday.

Government investigators accused Chicago Title Insurance Co. of failing to accurately list closing costs and other fees on government forms for home mortgage loans in the Houston, Texas area.

Chicago Title's actions were part of an alleged kickback scheme hatched when the company received business referrals, the Housing and Urban Development Department said.

As part of the settlement with HUD and the Treasury Department, the company will pay a $5 million fine to the federal government. HUD announced that Chicago Title will also pay a $1.2 million fine to the Texas Department of Insurance to settle similar allegations.

The company is cooperating with the government and has ``begun addressing its deficiencies,'' federal officials said. The agreement calls for Chicago Title to file corrected settlement forms to lenders.