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Title Insurance Company in Duluth and Two Harbors charged with fraud

October 05, 2009

Title Insurance Company in Duluth and Two Harbors charged with fraud

For Immediate Release: October 5, 2009

Licenses have been suspended…

(St. Paul, MN) - The Minnesota Department of Commerce has summarily suspended the Title Insurance Agency license of Scenic Title & Abstract, Inc. of  Duluth and Two Harbors, the insurance producer licenses of Kevin D. Eckholm and Sharyn K. Hill both of Duluth who were employed at Scenic Title & Abstract, and the Notary Commissions of both Eckholm and Hill and also Linda E. Eckholm. Scenic Title & Abstract has been charged with fraudulent conduct.

In the Order For Summary Suspension, Department of Commerce investigators allege that, between 2006 and 2009, there were at least 237 instances where Scenic Title & Abstract collected insurance premiums from clients on behalf of Fidelity National Title Insurance Company which were never sent to Fidelity. In addition, despite having an Abstracters license which expired June 30, 2007, Kevin Eckholm told investigators he had done "around 100" property abstracts in the last 12 months.

Other allegations made in the summary suspension order are that Scenic Title failed to pay withholding taxes for its employees, the company's unpaid business obligations totaled at least $28,000, and that its known financial obligations far exceeded the amount of money available in its bank accounts.

"Title insurance companies handle large amounts of money," said Glenn Wilson, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce. "When a company and its employees fail to meet their financial obligations, public trust and confidence is seriously undermined, and customers of the company are harmed. We will continue to be vigilant in the enforcement of our laws which protect individual consumers as well as the broader marketplace." This is one of ten enforcement actions taken by the Department against title insurance companies this year.

The Department's Order for Summary Suspension of these licenses is effective immediately and will be considered at a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.

You can access public documents related to this action through the Enforcement Action selection with our document lookup tool Commerce Actions and Regulatory Documents (CARDs).