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Officials Warn Escrow Agents

Washington officials have issued a warning to escrow agents who abuse funds held in trust during real estate closings.

Department of Financial Institutions Director John Bley issued a “zero tolerance” warning Monday in the wake of findings that a Federal Way escrow agent was short some $480,000 in its trust account.

Pacific Coast Escrow Inc. allegedly used funds intended to refinance mortgages for outside lending purposes. A cease and desist order has been imposed on one of the owners, Bley said.

“We continue to identify and are investigating an unacceptable number of violations of the trust accounting requirements of the Escrow Agent Registration Act,” he said.

Bley said violators will lose their licenses and, where applicable, their cases will be referred to prosecutors.

His department assumed responsibility for administration of the law July 1.

“I would like to make it very clear to escrow agents where we intend to focus our enforcement efforts,” Bley said. , DataTimes