First American Settles Alleged Anti-inducement Violation With California Regulator
August 10, 2021
First American Title Co. agreed to pay $1 million after a California Department of Insurance (CDI) investigation alleged that one of its former title marketing representatives violated the state’s law anti-inducement laws.
The department’s investigation alleged that Eugene Bleecker, a former First American marketing representative in northern Los Angeles County, violated anti-inducement laws by providing illegal benefits to real estate agents. Bleecker allegedly provided custom video marketing, a tour bus caravan to bring agents to view and promote listings, social media training and sales coaching.
“First American Title Company fully cooperated with the California Department of Insurance investigation of a former employee of the company,” First American said in a statement. “We’re pleased to resolve this matter with the California Department of Insurance and remain committed to compliance with Department of Insurance requirements.”
The investigation found that Bleecker managed a networking group of about 600 real estate agents called the Advisory Group Real Estate Network. According to the CDI news release, “First American encouraged Bleecker’s involvement with the Advisory Group despite internal guidelines for complying with anti-inducement laws, such as avoiding assisting others with marketing services or methods of growing their business.”
CDI Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said the penalty should serve as a warning to companies that they are accountable for their employees’ actions that harm consumers.
The agreement with First American includes $185,000 to reimburse the department for its investigative and legal costs. The department’s action against Bleecker’s individual license to act as a title marketing representative remains pending.
First American agreed to pay $50,000 to settle similar allegations against another employee in January 2021.
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