Business operations at Roswell Escrow Services Inc. have been suspended and its financial accounts frozen, something that Chaves County Treasurer Charlotte Andrade said Thursday could have a significant local impact.
Roswell Escrow Services will remain closed at least until Nov. 27 as part of a court order issued in New Mexico’s 1st Judicial District Court Nov. 14, according to a letter posted on the website of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department’s Financial Services Division.
As a result, no payments are being accepted and business activities are being conducted at Roswell Escrow Services’ office, 204 W. Second St., according to the letter signed by Christopher Moya, director of the Financial Services Division.
“Clients of RES (Roswell Escrow Service) are instructed not to send payments to RES via U.S. mail or any other delivery service and not to attempt to slide payments under the doors to RES offices — such payments may be permanently lost, with no credit being applied to client accounts,” the letter states.
The Financial Services Division on Nov. 14 filed an application for a temporary restraining order, enforcement order and preliminary injunction in District Court, after an examination of Roswell Escrow Service’s records and accounts, that began Oct. 23, found more than $1.5 million missing from the company’s client trust account, according to the letter.
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The temporary restraining order was sought to protect clients of Roswell Escrow from financial harm and ensure all business records and company assets are protected from loss or destruction, the letter states.
The restraining order prevents the transferring and encumbering of funds and assets from seven company accounts; prohibits Roswell Escrow Services co-owners Christopher Adam Jensen-Tanner and Mindy Jensen-Tanner or directing other individuals from entering the premises; and orders that no records be destroyed, tampered with, altered or removed, according to the text of the order.
A court hearing on the preliminary injunction is scheduled for Wednesday at 9 a.m. in New Mexico 1st Judicial District Court at the Santa Fe County Courthouse at 225 Montezuma Ave. in Santa Fe, according to the letter.
At Thursday’s meeting of the Chaves County Board of Commissioners, Andrade said there are 800 property tax accounts that run through Roswell Escrow Services, which owe the county about $425,000 in property taxes. Half of that $425,000 in property tax payments is due by Dec. 10.
She explained that she will not know what will happen until the Nov. 27 hearing, but that the County Treasurer’s Office will work with taxpayers who have accounts with Roswell Escrow Services and need to make their property tax payments.
“It is no fault of theirs what is occurring, and we have just explained to them that we will make every effort to accept payments and void any penalties and interests that will accumulate if the payments are not made by the due date of Dec. 10,” she said.
Andrade added that come Dec. 11, all those accounts will accrue penalties and interests, and the treasurer’s office will work with taxpayers to make sure that they are handled accordingly.
People affected by the temporary closure of Roswell Escrow Services who want to make their property tax payments can do so. If the treasurer’s office later receives the money from the Roswell Escrow Services, those amounts will then be refunded to the property owner, Andrade said.
For updates on the Financial Institutions Division can receive updates on the ongoing examination by visiting http://www.rid.state.nm.us/financialinstitutions/.
A hotline telephone number has also been established for Roswell Escrow Services clients at 505-660-4687.
Lisa Dunlap, Roswell Daily Record senior writer contributed to this story.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.