Earlier today, the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) issued a “cease and desist” order to both Professional National Title Network (PNTN) and WFG. As part of the order, IDFPR has levied a fine of $14,056,000 upon each.
The order arises from PNTN’s “Examining Attorney Program,” which the Department alleges was “created and maintained . . . for individuals and small firms to do the ‘usual duties of registered title agents,’ as independent contractors with PNTN.”
According to the order, the participants in the PNTN program conducted closings for 14,056 real estate closings under the program. PNTN and WFG were each fine $1,000 per transaction.
Rather than registering attorney title agents, PNTN acted as the agent and then paid attorneys to examine title on those transactions, paying the lawyers amounts commensurate with what they would have been paid if they had been properly-registered agents.
The Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association will keep you updated as the story develops. In the interim, attorney-title agents are reminded that it is incumbent upon them to understand the programs in which they participate.
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