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BUSINESS
By Randolph Smith and Randolph Smith,Knight-Ridder News Service | March 15, 1992
Think you're paying too much mortgage escrow? Follow these tips:For GMAC Mortgage Corp: If your loan is serviced by GMAC, you're entitled to a refund of escrow exceeding limits specified by federal law or your loan contract -- whichever is lower.Look at your mortgage contract to determine the escrow balance limit.About 40 percent of GMAC loans are Fannie Mae (FNMA) or Freddie Mac (FHLMC) contracts issued before May 1991. These allow no cushion in the account above amounts needed to pay taxes and insurance when due. The account balance should fall to zero following payment of the largest tax bill.
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BUSINESS
Jamie Smith Hopkins | April 4, 2012
The annual escrow statement that mortgage servicers send out might seem like a low priority for scrutiny, but Dino Frangos' experience underscores why it's worth a close look. He purchased a home in Catonsville last year and says his servicer handled the $4,684 property-tax bill through his escrow account. Last week his escrow statement arrived with a projection that his taxes would double next tax year -- requiring a nearly $400-a-month increase in his mortgage payment. He called to find out why. After spending some time convincing staff that this was indeed a change from the current tax year, he was informed that he has two parcels of land "and they 'estimated' the value of one of the parcels.
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BUSINESS
By Dan Thanh Dang | June 29, 2008
Scammers posing as phony escrow services are targeting online car shoppers to defraud consumers out of thousands of dollars, the Better Business Bureau warned. Both eBay and Craigslist have posted warnings to consumers about escrow fraud on their Web sites, but the BBB says that shoppers continue to fall for them as the scams become more sophisticated. The BBB says most victims are shopping online for big-ticket items such as a used car when they come across a deal that is often too good to be true.
NEWS
By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun | October 12, 2011
A Charles County woman pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to mail fraud that was part of a plan to defraud lenders and a title insurance company of $1.7 million. Brenda Lukenich, 60, of Hughesville was an escrow accountant for title companies that operated in Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington, D.C., according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland. Roughly five years ago, Lukenich altered escrow account statements prior to audits - required by the title insurer - to show that accounts were balanced even though they actually were short about $3 million, the statement said.
BUSINESS
May 5, 2002
Dear Mr. Azrael: I sold a property in Baltimore on Dec. 4, 1998. The title company handling the settlement was All Maryland Title Inc., then located in Towson. At settlement, the ground rent owner was not found; therefore, the settlement company advised me it would hold three years' ground rent ($270) in escrow, and I was to contact the firm after three years to find if the owner had been found and paid, or to be reimbursed the total with interest. I attempted to contact the company in December 2001 and found it has gone out of business.
BUSINESS
By Liz Atwood and Raymond L. Sanchez and Liz Atwood and Raymond L. Sanchez,Evening Sun Staff | October 4, 1990
The former president of Bay State Title Co. has pleaded guilty to misappropriating about $300,000 belonging to his company and to the Chicago Title Insurance Co. of Maryland.Howard L. Perlow, 37, of Talton Court in Pikesville, entered the plea in Baltimore City Circuit Court yesterday. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 23.Perlow had been charged with misappropriating more than $1.6 million, according to Assistant Attorney General Christopher J. Romano.But Arnold Weiner, who is Perlow's lawyer, said that most of that amount was used for third-party loans, which he argued did not constitute a misappropriation of money.
BUSINESS
By David Conn and David Conn,Annapolis Bureau | April 1, 1992
ANNAPOLIS -- Maryland title companies came one important step closer yesterday to losing the interest they earn on client escrow accounts, as a House committee approved a bill to encourage affordable housing.The Maryland Affordable Housing Trust would be established under a measure that the House Ways and Means Committee passed by a 2-to-1 ratio yesterday. Funding for the trust would come from the interest title companies earn when they hold clients' money in escrow.The housing trust would award money to buy, build or preserve affordable housing, and would help other non-profit organizations that support affordable housing.
NEWS
By Amanda J. Crawford and Amanda J. Crawford,SUN STAFF | July 12, 2001
Responding to the Annapolis city council's decision to claim $1.7 million held in escrow during unsuccessful negotiations to annex the nearby Villages of Chesapeake Harbour, the community's residents yesterday filed suit - and obtained a court order temporarily freezing the money. Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Nancy Davis-Loomis granted the residents an injunction that will keep the money in escrow until their legal fight with the city is decided. In the lawsuit filed yesterday, the Chesapeake Harbour Community Association asked the judge for an order to prevent the city from taking the money, arguing that it belongs to the community after the collapse in May of annexation negotiations that began 17 years earlier.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | August 22, 2003
The Maryland Racing Commission has accepted Magna Entertainment Corp.'s plan to place money for future racetrack improvements into an escrow account. By accepting the plan at its monthly meeting yesterday at the Ocean Downs harness track, the commission settled a dispute with Magna, the parent company of the Maryland Jockey Club, that had dominated recent commission meetings. In turn, Magna agreed to hire a consultant that would oversee its expenditures for upgrades at Pimlico, Laurel Park and the Bowie Training Center.
BUSINESS
By David Conn and David Conn,Annapolis Bureau | April 1, 1992
ANNAPOLIS -- Maryland title companies came one important step closer yesterday to losing the interest they earn on client escrow accounts, as a House committee approved a bill to encourage affordable housing.The Maryland Affordable Housing Trust would be established under a measure that the House Ways and Means Committee passed by a 2-to-1 ratio yesterday. Funding for the trust would come from the interest title companies earn when they hold clients' money in escrow.The housing trust would award money to buy, build or preserve affordable housing, and would help other non-profit organizations that support affordable housing.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | June 14, 2010
Fresh from visits to the oil-smeared Louisiana coast, Maryland's two Democratic senators and one of its House members called today for new measures to ensure that BP pays for the damage caused by the largest petroleum spill in U.S. history. Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Benjamin L. Cardin backed the Obama administration's move to get BP to set up an escrow account for paying damage claims, saying the company ought to stock the fund with $20 billion. Mikulski said the company should set aside funds promptly, because she feared that as damages mount in the Gulf of Mexico, "the lawyers will take charge" and put BP in bankruptcy.
BUSINESS
By Dan Thanh Dang | June 29, 2008
Scammers posing as phony escrow services are targeting online car shoppers to defraud consumers out of thousands of dollars, the Better Business Bureau warned. Both eBay and Craigslist have posted warnings to consumers about escrow fraud on their Web sites, but the BBB says that shoppers continue to fall for them as the scams become more sophisticated. The BBB says most victims are shopping online for big-ticket items such as a used car when they come across a deal that is often too good to be true.
BUSINESS
By Hanah Cho and Hanah Cho,Sun reporter | May 30, 2008
A real estate title company in Severna Park and Ocean City was shut down after as much as $2 million from its escrow account for property settlements allegedly turned up missing, according to court documents and state regulators. Maryland Insurance Commissioner Ralph S. Tyler ordered yesterday that business licenses for Day Title Inc. and owner Deborah A. Williams be suspended and revoked. The Maryland Insurance Administration issues licenses and regulates title companies, which conduct real estate closings.
BUSINESS
By Ken Harney and Ken Harney,Earthlink | March 30, 2007
As financial regulators and Congress probe more deeply into the delinquencies and foreclosures roiling the subprime home loan market, one key contributing factor is receiving increased attention: the lack of mandatory escrow accounts. According to some industry estimates, a majority of subprime mortgages closed during the housing boom years carried no escrows for property taxes and hazard insurance. That is in stark contrast to the prime mortgage market for consumers with good credit, where mandatory escrow accounts are routine.
BUSINESS
By DANNY MILLER and DANNY MILLER,LOS ANGELES TIMES | December 18, 2005
No one likes to play second fiddle. But in the current housing market, there is increasing pressure on buyers to make backup offers - securing themselves the No. 2 position in case the original deal falls apart. For their part, sellers like the bargaining leverage of having other buyers waiting in the wings and the safety net they provide should the house fall out of escrow. Because escrows are confidential and not recorded until a sale closes, there are no numbers on how many deals fall through.
NEWS
By Justin Fenton and Justin Fenton,SUN STAFF | June 18, 2005
Seeking to use the courts to force Baltimore landlords to repair and improve properties, a group of community activists rallied outside the District Court at 501 E. Fayette St. yesterday to push a citywide rent strike. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, is offering tenants assistance in filing rent-escrow cases. Under that process, the court allows a tenant to place rent payments in an escrow account at a bank until the landlord fixes the problem. "The rent court is a collection agency for landlords," said Derrick Jessup, the group's lead organizer for Baltimore.
NEWS
By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun | October 12, 2011
A Charles County woman pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to mail fraud that was part of a plan to defraud lenders and a title insurance company of $1.7 million. Brenda Lukenich, 60, of Hughesville was an escrow accountant for title companies that operated in Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington, D.C., according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland. Roughly five years ago, Lukenich altered escrow account statements prior to audits - required by the title insurer - to show that accounts were balanced even though they actually were short about $3 million, the statement said.
NEWS
By Lynn Anderson and Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF | September 4, 2003
An Anne Arundel County circuit judge has sided with Annapolis officials - and released $1.8 million in escrow funds to them - in a long-standing feud between the city and the waterfront community of Chesapeake Harbour. City officials and homeowners have long bickered about the terms of a 1984 agreement that provided water and sewer to the townhouse and apartment condominium community with the understanding that homeowners would seek annexation. Under the agreement, money collected from residents, $100 a year per unit, would be returned to them if the annexation was approved before 1994.
BUSINESS
April 10, 2005
We are in the process of buying a new home. We have informed the lender, Chase Manhattan Bank, that we would like to pay our real estates taxes directly to Harford County and homeowners insurance directly to the insurance company. Chase has informed us that to comply with our request, they will charge us 1/4 of one point of the amount mortgaged. Our down payment will be greater than 30 percent, which avoids the requirements for PMI insurance and an escrow account for real estate taxes. The question is, can Chase legally collect a charge from us for not escrowing our real estate taxes and homeowners insurance in the state of Maryland?
BUSINESS
By Lorene Yue | November 21, 2004
A new version of an old con game is picking up steam in the auto, motorcycle and boat community. Forget the fake personal checks written on nonexistent bank accounts. These swindlers are getting more sophisticated, with certified checks or a phony escrow service. AutoTrader.com, an online automobile classified ad service, has seen such an influx of complaints about fraud in the past 18 months that it put together a team to deal with the issue. In the certified-check scheme, the buyer gives you a certified check made out for more than your asking price.
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