Volume 1 Number 27
July 5, 2004










TEXT VERSION

TITLE AGENT ARRESTED FOR STEALING MORE THAN $1.1 MILLION

CLERMONT-A local title agent has been charged with organized fraud after investigators learned she allegedly stole more than $1.1 million in customer escrow funds.

On June 25, after an investigation conducted by the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud, Kathryn Knight turned herself in at the Lake County Jail for the misappropriation of escrowed funds. The charges against Knight, 37, A.K.A. Kathryn Weed, of 16808 Tequesta Trail, Clermont, include organized fraud, first-degree grand theft and misappropriation of funds while operating Weed & Associates Title Services.

In 2003, American Pioneer Title Insurance Company conducted an audit and discovered discrepancies in the escrow account of Weed & Associates Title Services, Inc. Upon the conclusion of an investigation conducted in November, the Division of Agent and Agency Services revoked Knight’s insurance license.

It was revealed that Knight allegedly misappropriated funds in excess of $1.1 million from the escrow account. On numerous occasions during 2002-2003, Knight allegedly used these funds for personal use, including the purchase of two vehicles, a trip to Las Vegas with employees and her boyfriend, a total of $750,000 as a down payment on a $9 million Lake County land purchase, and her wedding.

The charges against Knight carry a maximum penalty of 35 years in prison.

The Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, investigates various forms of fraud in insurance, including health, life, auto, property and workers’ compensation insurance. A reward of up to $25,000 may be offered for information leading to a related conviction.