Shelbyville troubles shut down Kings Title & Abstract Co.
Troubles that surfaced in October at the Shelbyville office of Kings Title & Abstract Co. have now scuttled the company, one of the state’s largest title insurance agencies, and led to felony charges against one of its former employees.
New Castle-based Kings Title ceased operating last fall and has not reopened. Its Web site was not functioning and the main phone line at its headquarters had been disconnected. The company had operated in nine Indiana cities.
Kings is the biggest of a handful of title insurance agents tripped up by a combination of poor financial management and the recent recession in the housing market, said Kathy Hulbert, managing attorney of the title division at the Indiana Department of Insurance.
Kings’ troubles came to light last year when John Keith Branam, manager of Kings Title’s Shelbyville branch office, allegedly embezzled $900,000 of customer funds held in escrow. Branam has now been charged with 11 felonies, according to the Shelbyville News.
Kings Title’s officers, Bill and Cindy King, knew that Branam had dipped into customer funds before, according to Hulbert. A phone call to the Kings’ home was not returned.