College Football, Cryptocurrency & Caution: Fake Notaries

Dear Members,

Summer is winding down and our thoughts turn to back-to-school routines and….of course……college football!  Many of us are expecting great things from our teams and new coaches.  But disappointment and despair are inevitable.  I am looking forward to sharing stories with you over the next several months over victories achieved or victories snatched away in the final seconds. Now down to business.

Cryptocurrency and real estate - I recently hosted a webinar with Colleen Sachs, Fund Senior Underwriting Attorney, to provide an update about the use of cryptocurrency and blockchain in real estate transactions.  We have gotten lots of good feedback about the topic and there were many follow up questions.

Here is a link to the audio version of the webinar. I would like to clarify one topic we briefly discussed in the webinar:  underwriting guidelines.  Fund Members need to know a bit more about how we view transactions involving cryptocurrency so here goes:

Real estate transactions involving cryptocurrency may expose the parties to the transaction, the title agency and the underwriter to several unique risks. These transactions may not be insured without a thorough underwriting evaluation and written authorization. Significant considerations include liability related to dealing with unknown parties in real estate investment, unknown sources and payees of funds and valuation concerns. Fund Members who encounter requests to insure a transaction involving cryptocurrency must contact their underwriting counsel for evaluation and authorization.  Due to these unique risks, Fund Members are cautioned to refrain from advertising the ability to close transactions involving cryptocurrency. Additionally, closing protection letters will not be issued for these transactions.

Policy processing - we are receiving lots and lots of policies and premium checks from Fund Members.  This is wonderful but it is creating a backlog in our finance department.  We are processing those as quickly and efficiently as we can!  Please be patient with us and do not be concerned about a delay in your premium checks clearing your bank, etc.  We really appreciate your efforts to get caught up and we are working hard to also catch up.

Fraud alert!  Be on the lookout for fraudulently signed seller documents, allegedly from another country, with any of the following persons acting as the notary for the acknowledgement:

  • Alison Dilworth, Dubai
  • Ellen Wong, United Kingdom
  • Eric Guadiosi, Germany
  • Fabian Ikenna Aiogwu, South Africa
  • Fabio Saturni, South Africa
  • Joseph McCallum, South Africa
  • Marc Nelson, Sweden
  • Philip Reeker, United Kingdom
  • Robert Rowse, South Africa
  • Stephen Jacques, Vietnam
  • Stephen Thomson, South Africa
  • Virginia Blaser, South Africa

These fraudulent notaries have been showing up in various vacant lot schemes so please add this to your checklist of items to review when you get original documents back from  the seller (who might not really be the seller but might be a fraudster acting as the seller!).

That's all for this week.  Let me know how we can help you.

Melissa Jay Murphy
Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer,
and General Counsel