Fidelity, HUD Settle Agent Kickback Claims

July 12, 2011

Fidelity National Financial and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reached a $4.5 million settlement over claims that FNF paid real estate professionals for referring services, such as home warranties and title insurance, that violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, HousingWire reports.

HUD says the kickbacks and referral fees are in violation of Section 8 of RESPA, which prohibits anyone from giving or receiving anything of value in exchange for referring settlement service business.

FNF has denied the allegations. The company says that any payments were made to use a software platform, called TransactionPoint, a program that automates the real estate transaction from listing to close. HUD claims that the real estate professionals would allow FNF subsidiaries to be listed on the platform as a service provider.

"RESPA is very clear that paying fees or providing anything of value for the simple act of referring business is a violation of law," Acting FHA Commissioner Bob Ryan told HousingWire. "This agreement should be a signal to others that these business practices won’t be tolerated."

Source:“Fidelity Settles With HUD Over Mortgage Kickback Claims,”HousingWire (July 11, 2011)