The Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced a $226,000 settlement with nine Tennessee builders who allegedly took kickbacks from a Tennessee title company in violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.The companies, known as Title Group Builders, have agreed to pay $226,000 to the U.S. Treasury and to cease "any further business operations involving the sham business affiliations," HUD said. They allegedly received payments for settlement services that were never performed, violating RESPA's anti-kickback and unearned-fee provisions. "It's pretty obvious the law requires that when money changes hands in the mortgage transaction, actual service should be provided," said Brian Montgomery, HUD's assistant secretary for housing. "But there's a big difference between performing real work and creating sham business arrangements designed to mask illegal kickbacks and referral fees." The Title Group Builders consist of: Oaktree Homes LLC, Vintage Homes LLC, Bronze-Christian LLC, P & G. Capital Partners LLC, Summit Homes LLC, Lenox Homes LLC, Riverbirch Homes LLC, Richard and Milton Grant Co., and Downing Homes Inc.

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