Title Agents Indicted For Embezzling Clients' Funds
Over one million dollars allegedly swindled by two title agents
INDIANAPOLIS – Josh J. Minkler, the Acting United States Attorney, announced today that Adam Mears, 41 of Carmel and Patrick Hayden, 37 of Greensburg were indicted in separate investigations for embezzling money from their clients. Both face five counts of wire fraud.
“When individuals violate the people’s financial trust, it shakes the foundation of our communities,” said Acting United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler. “Our office works closely with our state and local partners to help maintain the public’s confidence in local leaders.”
According to the indictments, both Mears and Hayden were title agents and controlling members of their respective companies. Mears was a co-owner of First Title, operating in Indianapolis. Hayden was the co-owner of Mainstreet Title operating out of Greensburg.
In these positions, both were required by law to maintain an escrow account which was to be exclusively used to hold client funds and pay expenses associated with real estate closings. Despite these responsibilities, Mears is alleged to have embezzled $648,219.43 from First Title by utilizing the user name and password of another employee to create false user accounts. He then is alleged to have used the money to pay business and personal expenses.
Hayden is alleged to have embezzled $448,172.01 from his clients by diverting funds normally used to pay off existing mortgages, appraisals, title work or other liens on a property. Current closings were being funded by deposits from future closings. The alleged stolen funds were used to finance another business and support a drug habit.
The Indiana Department of Insurance’s (IDOI) routine examination of these agencies revealed improprieties in the appropriation of funds which were communicated to the Indiana State Police and the U.S. Secret Service. IDOI Commissioner Stephen W. Robertson warned, “Insurance fraud is a serious crime which will not be tolerated. IDOI will investigate all claims of fraud and as in this case, partner with local and federal law enforcement to ensure that these types of crimes against Hoosier consumers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
According to Assistant United States Attorney Brad Shepard who is prosecuting the case for the government, both men face up to 20 years in federal prison for each count if convicted.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Mears and Hayden had their initial appearances today before a magistrate judge. Mears was released. Hayden is being held for a detention hearing tomorrow (8/20).