Title Company Owner Admits Stealing from Escrow Accounts

Allison Tussey —  May 18, 2015 — Leave a comment

Christopher L. Durling, 49, Sandy, Utah, who owned a title and escrow company that operated in Nevada, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud for embezzling almost $4 million from company escrow accounts for his own personal use.

The defendant pleaded guilty on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, before Senior U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson to one count of wire fraud, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 11 at 9:00 a.m. Durling faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Durling owned and operated Direct Title Insurance Agency, a title and escrow company which had offices in Nevada, Utah, Texas, Indiana, California, and elsewhere. From about March 2009 through June 2011, Durling devised a scheme to defraud various persons and entities of money and property by diverting funds from escrow accounts for his own personal use.

Durling used a kiting scheme to artificially inflate the balances of office trust accounts in order to cover up the shortages that were caused by his diversion of the escrow funds. In late 2010, the volume of the diversions from the escrow accounts reached such a level that the kiting scheme could no longer conceal the fraud, and insurance companies had to reimburse 13 lenders approximately $4 million.

U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada, announced the guilty plea.

The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel J. Cowhig.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada successfully prosecuted hundreds of persons for fraud committed during the housing and mortgage lending bubble,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “Many of them were employed in the housing and lending industries and are now serving time in federal prison.”

 

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Allison Tussey

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