Suspended attorney indicted for title insurance fraud

First Posted: 10/9/2014

A suspended Lackawanna County attorney who operated an abstract firm in Avoca has been indicted for $72,000 in alleged title insurance fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania said.

Susan C. Kevra-Shiner, 46, of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury and charged with seven counts of mail fraud relating to GK Abstract Co., Inc., of Avoca.

Kevra-Shiner faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines on each count, as well as an order of restitution to the victims.

According to U.S. Attorney Peter Smith, Kevra-Shiner was an attorney admitted to practice in Pennsylvania in 1994. Kevra-Shiner handled real estate transactions as part of her legal practice, and starting in 2003, she issued title insurance policies on behalf of Stewart Title Guaranty Company, a title insurance underwriter based in Texas.

Stewart terminated its agency agreement with Kevra-Shiner on September 23, 2008, but the indictment alleges that Kevra-Shiner continued to issue numerous title insurance policies to her clients after that date.

As a result, the Indictment alleges that she defrauded approximately 76 homeowners and lenders of $72,000 in title insurance premiums which she was not authorized to receive and for which no valid title insurance policy was issued.

On February 28, 2013, the state Office of Disciplinary Counsel suspended Kevra-Shiner’s law license for four years as a result of these alleged activities.

The case was investigated by the FBI and is assigned to Senior Litigation Counsel Bruce Brandler for prosecution.

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