The Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced a legal settlement with First American Title Insurance Co. (d/b/a Memphis Title Co.) over allegations that the company made payments through sham affiliated businesses in violation of RESPA's anti-kickback and unearned fee provisions.HUD said First American has agreed to make a $680,000 payment to the U.S. Treasury and cease further business operations involving the sham affiliations. The department said its investigation found that the company created or acquired eight affiliated title companies with various builders, real estate agents, and mortgage brokers, and that the companies were paid for certain title and settlement work they did not perform. "HUD concluded that the companies were sham businesses used to make referral payments back to the builders, real estate agents, and mortgage brokers in violation of RESPA," the department said. HUD noted that Section 8 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act bars a person from giving or accepting anything of value in exchange for the referral of settlement service business, or from giving or accepting any part of a charge for services that are not performed. First American could not be reached for comment by MortgageWire's deadline.

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