The Minnesota Department of Commerce ("DOC") appears to be one of the only state regulatory departments in the U.S. investigating and prosecuting illegal kickbacks. Not only are they going after firms paying kickbacks, but they are also going after the recipients of kickbacks. In two recent actions, the DOC fined two real estate agents for allegedly accepting things of value from yet another title company taking customers out on dinner boat cruises. See previous article on Title Smart (click here).
According to the Consent Cease and Desist Orders, real estate licensees Roxanne M. Igherighe and Gary L. Judson both received things of value from MTIA, Inc. d/b/a Entitle. "On July 18, 2013, Entitle hosted Respondent on a Lake Minnetonka boat ride which included food. Accordingly, Entitle provided things of value."
The DOC provided some evidence that the "things of value" had an impact on the Realtors' advice. Follows are quotes from the Judson Order:
"5. Respondent's clients closed twenty (20) transactions between July 2012 and July 18, 2013. Fifteen percent (15%) of those transactions closed at Entitle.
6. After Respondent received things of value from Entitle on July 18, 2013, Respondent's clients closed thirteen (13) transactions between July 18, 2013 and July 24, 2014. Forty-six percent (46%) of those transactions closed at Entitle."
Links to the Orders:
Gary J. Judson Order (click here).
Roxanne M. Igherighe Order (click here).