A New England mortgage company will pay HUD and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) $150,000 to settle charges that the firm sought and accepted kickbacks for mortgage settlement referrals in violation of RESPA.
Peabody, Massachusetts-based 1-800-East-West Mortgage Co. agreed to the six-figure payment to settle HUD's and FDIC's complaint that the firm solicited and received tickets from certain settlement-service providers to Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots events, as well as tickets to music venues and restaurant gift certificates, in exchange for the referral of business.
Section 8 of RESPA prohibits a person from giving or accepting anything of value in exchange for the referral of settlement-service business. It also prohibits a person from giving or accepting any part of a charge for services that are not performed.
East-West is a wholly owned subsidiary of Commerce Bank and Trust Co., Worcester, Massachusetts, which is a state non-member bank supervised by the FDIC. Through a joint investigation, the agencies determined that East-West instituted a "give-to-get" policy in which the firm...