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December 08, 2017

Former Houston escrow officer sentenced to prison in title scam

Sandra Flores will begin serving a six year prison term this week for insurance fraud after a Texas Department of Insurance investigation found she had stolen $1 million from real estate transactions. She was sentenced earlier this week by a Harris County judge.

While working as an escrow officer for a Houston title attorney’s office, Flores began taking payments for real estate transactions and using them for her personal expenses.

TDI Fraud Prosecutor Jesse McClure says the crime went on for months. “She was covering her tracks by shifting funds from other transactions to make up for the money that she had stolen. She couldn’t keep up with it, and the scheme eventually fell apart.”

McClure says their investigation found Flores’ illegally moved more than $5 million from dozens of real estate deals her office was handling, with about $1 million of that ending up in her pocket.

Flores pleaded guilty to a felony charge. During the sentencing hearing, Flores’s former employer, an attorney involved in the litigation this crime caused, and an investigator who worked on the case showed how Flores’s crime had a ripple effect, threatening several homeowners with foreclosure and forcing a title company into receivership.

When Flores’s escrow officer license was revoked by TDI earlier this year she was ordered to pay more than $800,000 in restitution. McClure says that Flores has not complied with the order, and her license remains suspended.

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Last updated: 12/8/2017