Friday, March 20, 2015

Former Title Insurance Agent in Florida Accused Of Embezzling $705K In Client Funds

From the Naples Daily News on 3/14/2015:

A former title insurance agent in Estero accused of siphoning more than $705,000 from her clients in 2010 faces theft and fraud charges.

Lana Kaye Dargai, of the 22000 block of Forest View Drive, was arrested March 7, accused of stealing escrow funds put aside for the purchase and sale of real estate in Estero and Bonita Springs in June and July of 2010, according to the Florida Department of Financial Services.

The department's Division of Agent and Agency Services and Division of Insurance Fraud investigated the case. Dargai was doing business under the name Global Title Co., which she owned.The investigation also found:

--Global Title used escrow money to purchase cashier's checks to pay its own monthly rent and its own property taxes.
--In one instance, $9,000 in escrow money was moved into a bank account for Dargai's father.
--At least eight times, from August 2009 through June 2010, funds from the company's escrow account held with Bank of Florida were transferred into Global Title's operating account, held with the same bank.

Dargai faces up to 15 years in prison for first degree grand theft and fraud charges, and her title agent license has been revoked. Dargai's case will be prosecuted by the State Attorney's Office in Fort Myers.

"These cases are thoroughly investigated, which takes time. Also, the State Attorney's Office had a forensic accountant going over all the facts and figures," said Ashley Carr, a spokeswoman for the Department of Financial Services. Dargai, she said, turned in her Global Title agency license in 2011.

She made off with money from at least five clients. Stewart Title Guaranty, the underwriter for the money, reported the fraud to the state.

"The clients weren't even aware of any issues as Stewart Title covered the losses," Carr said. "The clients are not out any money. The victim is Stewart Title." 

Florida Community Bank was among the claimants that Stewart paid.

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