A Madison title insurance company is accusing two brothers of committing mortgage fraud and leading the title company to issue fraudulent title insurance policies in Madison County and elsewhere in the state.
Mississippi Valley Title alleges brothers Charles H. Evans Jr. and Jon C. (Chris) Evans committed mortgage fraud on banks and induced MVT to issue fraudulent title insurance policies. Although a source estimated the damage from fraud to be more than $15 million, the amount of loans issued by more than 20 Mississippi banks to more than 25 LLCs is significantly more than that.
Charles Evans’ funds have been frozen, and Chris Evans’ finances are now under the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court. Bankruptcy records indicate a number of creditors in Texas.The claim was part of a lawsuit filed Sept. 18 in Madison County Chancery Court that named the Evans brothers, The Evans Firm and 28 companies the brothers owned or controlled as defendants. The complaint for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction was designed to prevent the defendants from traveling outside the jurisdiction of the court and liquidating or transferring cash or other assets.
The complaint said Chris Evans is a Rankin County resident and Charles Evans is a Madison County resident.On Oct. 27 the court froze the defendants’ finances and property and ordered that the defendants turn over financial documents, lists of business entities and the entities’ information to the plaintiffs.
Charles Evans was an approved attorney for MVT from whom the company accepted title work. MVT is a member of the Old Republic Title Insurance Group and also has offices in Alabama and Tennessee. Chris Evans is the owner of numerous limited liability companies and is no longer active with the Mississippi Bar.
MVT alleges that Chris Evans, through various LLCs, obtained fraudulent mortgages on properties in Madison County and elsewhere in the state. The suit says mortgages were obtained through misrepresentation on certificates of titles issued by Charles Evans to MVT. MVT stated it issued title insurance based on Charles Evans’ fraudulent certificates of title.
The details of the Evans brothers alleged fraudulent scheme were explained in an affidavit sealed by the court.Because multiple loans by different banks were made on single properties, several banks are seeking first right of lien on properties to which they made loans. Some banks have also filed motions for protective orders to seal confidential records.
Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said in a statement dated Nov. 3 that his department “is very aware of and will continue to closely monitor the pending litigation involving MVT and the Evans brothers. While the matter is now squarely before the Court and must be resolved in that setting, the Department (of Insurance) will take regulatory action as necessary and appropriate to protect policyholders and the public, to the extent that our jurisdiction allows.
“In some cases, no amount of government oversight or scrutiny could prevent intentional fraudulent activity. However, as this matter continues to unfold and as more information is gathered, I am fully committed to working with other public officials in exploring whether statutory and regulatory changes are warranted.”
Deputy Commissioner Mark Haire also signed the statement.
By law the Department of Insurance examines the financial condition of MVT every three years and analyzes its financial statements quarterly.
Chris Evans filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Mississippi on Oct. 26. A motion filed by MVT on Oct. 23 stated Chris Evans is refusing to provide his current whereabouts.
Bill Brabec, a partner in Adams & Reese law firm which is representing MVT, said it would not be appropriate for him to comment on pending litigation.
Local blog JacksonJambalaya.com has written about the Evans brothers fraud case for several weeks.