Long & Foster, one of the highest-volume Realtor teams in the United States, is currently facing allegations of marketing agreements with settlement service providers, according to the legal experts at the Housing and Urban Development Agency.  These agreements went directly against the provisions of RESPA, or the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 2011.

This large class-action suit covers all customers of the Creig Northrop Team, a division of Long & Foster, since January of 2008 onward.  The case charges that the team took over half a million dollars of kickbacks from Lakeview Title Co. in a direct violation of RESPA.  This case is particularly noteworthy for Orlando title insurance agents and other related professionals, as it indicates that the CFPB is actively poring over marketing agreements to determine illegitimate practices.

The ties between Creig Northrop Team and Lakeview Title Co. go back to 2008, when the case’s plaintiffs purchased a house through the Northrop Team.  Unbeknownst to them, Northrop’s wife was listed as an employee of Lakeview Title, although she did not actually work there.  By doing so, Creig Northrop created a venue for illegal kickbacks from the title company.  So far, investigators have determined that monetary exchanges reached up to $12,000 per month.

Marx Sterbcow, the RESPA attorney investigating the case, recommends that all real estate brokers seek legal counsel to help ensure that their dealings with Orlando title insurance companies falls within legal boundaries and does not create any costly entanglements, as they have in this case.

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