Title firm's fund short $450,000, auditors find

March 24, 1994|By Joel Obermayer | Joel Obermayer,Sun Staff Writer

Auditors going through the books of a Glen Burnie title company say at least $450,000 is missing from the firm's escrow account, but they add that the final number may be significantly higher.

The president of the Central Maryland Title Co., William A. Hackney, signed a document March 16 that indicates the firm and he owe the insurance underwriter $450,000.

But Richard A. Kramer, a lawyer representing the underwriter, said the final tally would probably be tens of thousands of dollars more.

"It's likely that it is more than $450,000," Mr. Kramer said, explaining that it could be days before the auditors are finished, because they have to account for every check and every closing in the company's files.

An order was issued Friday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court that allowed the underwriter, California-based Fidelity National Title Insurance Co., to take over the Glen Burnie title company after the underwriter discovered money was missing from the company's escrow account.

On Monday, the document signed by Mr. Hackney, called a confessed judgment, was filed in Circuit Court. It gives the insurance company a way to obtain an immediate judgment against the firm and Mr. Hackney without lengthy litigation.

"In this context it implicitly is an admission that they owe the money," said Jefferson V. Wright, a lawyer with Miles & Stockbridge who has litigated numerous title fraud and claim cases.

Mr. Kramer said that he was not aware of any criminal investigation, but said that the Attorney Grievance Commission, the Attorney General's Office and the Maryland Insurance Administration had made inquiries.

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