April 9, 2009
Consumer Advisory: Attorney General Corbett cautions homeowners about closed escrow company; encourages check of tax & insurance records
HARRISBURG - Attorney General Tom Corbett today announced that the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection has launched an investigation into the business practices of American Escrow LLC, an Illinois-based escrow company that suddenly halted operations in March 2009.
Corbett said that homeowners across Pennsylvania, along with consumers from several other states, used American Escrow to handle the payment of their property taxes and/or homeowners insurance.
"Based on our preliminary investigation, it is possible that property tax and insurance bills for more than 100 Pennsylvania consumers were not paid by American Escrow," Corbett said. "It is essential that consumers who used American Escrow contact their local taxing authorities and homeowner's insurance companies as soon as possible to notify them of the problem, verify what payments have been made and make arrangements to directly pay any balances that are due."
Corbett said that consumers who suffered losses because of the sudden closing of American Escrow should file formal complaints with the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection. Consumers are also encouraged to contact their insurance companies to determine if they can file claims for losses under their homeowner's policies.
"It is vital that consumers take immediate steps to identify any losses and ensure that all current and future property taxes and insurance bills are being paid," Corbett said. "Homeowners who were using American Escrow should also notify their taxing authorities and insurance companies that all future bills and statements should be sent directly to their home addresses."
Corbett said the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection is actively working with authorities from several other states to investigate the activities of American Escrow and determine how best to assist consumers. A letter explaining the investigation along with a complaint form has been sent to all Pennsylvania consumers who have been identified as customers of American Escrow.
"We are asking consumers to assist this investigation by providing our office with as much information as possible about their dealings with American Escrow," Corbett said. "Details about how consumers entered into their contracts with this company and who suggested their services, along with copies of any advertising materials, brochures, correspondence and account statements will all be extremely helpful as this probe proceeds."
American Escrow customers in Pennsylvania who do not receive a letter, or those who misplace the complaint form, can download a copy of the form.
Complaint forms and other correspondence related to the American Escrow case should be sent to the following address:
PA Office of Attorney General, Bureau of Consumer Protection
564 Forbes Ave.
6th Floor, Manor Complex
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Consumers with specific questions about the American Escrow investigation should contact the Pittsburgh Regional Office of the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection, at 412-565-5134.
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