Title agents in Illinois may have additional registration requirements, including submitting an affidavit affirming that the applicant has never been convicted of a crime of theft or dishonesty.
Currently, no person, firm, partnership, association, corporation or other legal entity may act as or hold itself out to be a title insurance agent unless duly registered by a title insurance company. Under SB 3712, introduced by Sen. Iris Martinez, D- Chicago, each application for registration must include an affidavit, “signed and notarized in front of a notary public, affirming that the applicant and any owner, officer, director, principal, member or manager has never been convicted or pled guilty to any felony or misdemeanor involving a crime of theft or dishonesty.” No person who has had a conviction or pled guilty to any felony or misdemeanor involving theft or dishonesty could be registered by a title insurance company, and no such person could serve as an owner, officer, director, principal or manager of any registered title insurance agent.
The secretary of financial and professional regulation would be permitted to refuse to grant, and could suspend, or revoke, any certificate of authority, registration or license issued under the Title Insurance Act, or could impose a fine for a violation of the act if the secretary determines that the holder of or applicant for the certificate, registration or license:
- Has committed fraud or misrepresentation in applying for or procuring any certificate of authority, registration or license issued pursuant to the act;
- Has a conviction or plea of guilt or plea of nolo contendere in Maryland or any other jurisdiction to any felony or a misdemeanor, an essential element of which is dishonesty or fraud or larceny, embezzlement, or obtaining money, property or credit by false pretenses or by means of a confidence game;
- Has been disciplined by another state, the District of Columbia, a territory, foreign nation, a governmental agency or any entity authorized to impose discipline if at least one of the grounds for that discipline is the same as or equivalent to one of the grounds for which a title insurance company, title insurance agent or independent escrowee may be disciplined under the act or if at least one of the grounds for that discipline involves dishonesty; a certified copy of the record of the action by the other state or jurisdiction shall be prima facie evidence thereof;
- Has advertising that is inaccurate, misleading or contrary to the provisions of the act;
- Has knowingly and willfully made any substantial misrepresentation or untruthful advertising;
- Has made any false promises of a character likely to influence, persuade or induce;
- Has failed to account for or remit any money or documents coming into the possession of a title insurance company, title insurance agent or independent escrowee that belong to others;
- Has engaged in dishonorable, unethical or unprofessional conduct of a character likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public;
- Has violated the terms of a disciplinary order issued by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation;
- Has disregarded or violated any provision of the act or the published rules adopted by the department to enforce the act or has aided or abetted any individual, partnership, registered limited liability partnership, limited liability company or corporation in disregarding any provision of the act or the published rules; or
- Has acted as a title insurance company, title insurance agent or independent escrowee without a certificate of authority, registration or license after the title insurance company, title insurance agent or independent escrowee’s certificate of authority, registration or license was inoperative.