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Online escrow co. warned off

January 2, 2003

California Department of Corporations takes action against

Inman News Features

The California Department of Corporations has issued a desist and refrain order against an online operation that allegedly had been operating as an unlicensed escrow company. The department ordered and to stop receiving escrows for deposit and/or delivery without a California escrow license. Both Web sites appeared to be offline this morning.

Demetrios A. Boutris, commissioner of the Department of Corporations, said the case is a reminder to consumers to "do their homework" and "be certain they're dealing with licensed escrow agents when buying or selling merchandise on the Internet."

"These businesses tried to dupe potential customers by using the license number of an unrelated legitimately licensed company on their Web sites (and) trying to pass the license number off as their own," Boutris said.

California home buyers and sellers can check the license status and disciplinary history of an escrow agent by calling the Department of Corporations at (866) 275-2677 or using the department's online databases.

The California Department of Corporations is part of the state's Business, Transportation and Housing Agency and is responsible for regulation, enforcement and licensing of securities, franchises, off-exchange commodities, investment and financial services, independent escrows, consumer and commercial finance lending and residential mortgage lending in the state.

Copyright: Inman News Service

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