Home News Local News Roswell Escrow court case decisions postponed

Roswell Escrow court case decisions postponed

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More than 700 client accounts once serviced by Roswell Escrow Services Inc., which had an office on West Second Street, have been transferred to other companies, according to a state official. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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A decision about whether to place Roswell Escrow Services Inc. into a receivership has been postponed until mid-February at the earliest.

As of December, about 700 of the escrow accounts once serviced by the company have been transferred to other companies, according to Bernice Geiger, a public information officer with the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department.

She said the staff of the department’s Financial Institutions Division “continues to work daily with former Roswell Escrow Services customers to complete the transfer of remaining escrow accounts, as well as to provide information and assistance to those customers.”

A Feb. 1 update on the case before Judge Bryan Biedscheid of the New Mexico First District Court in Santa Fe County was postponed. Lucas Williams with Hinkle Shanor LLP cited personal reasons for asking that the hearing be held Feb. 15 instead. Williams is the lawyer representing Christopher Adam Jensen-Tanner and Mindy Jensen-Tanner, co-owners of and company officers with Roswell Escrow.

According to a December court document, the status conference is expected to provide Judge Biedscheid with information about whether to place Roswell Escrow into a receivership where its business matters would be handled by a court-appointed receiver. Whether the current injunction that restricts the authority and control of the Jensen-Tanners in regard to the company should be converted into a permanent injunction also is supposed to be considered.

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Williams’ office said he was unavailable for comment by press time. No lawyer has been named to represent Roswell Escrow at this point.

According to court filings, the Financial Institutions Division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department launched an investigation of Roswell Escrow in October 2019. It did so after receiving a complaint and documentation from a customer who said he had never received a payment of $218,330 owed to him by the company.

State financial examiners arrived at Roswell Escrow’s offices at 204 W. Second St. on Oct. 23, 2019, to look at company records and documents. Christopher Adam Jensen-Tanner allegedly told investigators that the company had been the victim of a wire fraud in April 2018 for about $1.1 million. Jensen-Tanner also was reported to have told investigators that he had called the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the fraud but never heard back.

The state said in its court filings that its investigations from October to November found numerous violations of state law regarding how the company operated and handled client funds. It also estimated that client funds were short about $1.57 million and that the company’s debt was in excess of $3.1 million. The state also alleged that five transfers of client account funds were believed to be linked to purchases of “high-end wristwatches.”

An affidavit filed by the state to obtain a search warrant also contended that company funds had been used to pay for other personal expenses of the Jensen-Tanners.

The Jensen-Tanners agreed to consent orders on Oct. 23 that allowed the state to examine Roswell Escrow accounts and later agreed to the stipulated injunction now in place that gives the Financial Institutions Division temporary control of Roswell Escrow’s offices and storage sites, bank accounts and business dealings.

Geiger said the state also has referred some matters to the FBI for investigation, and court documents indicate that personnel with both the FBI and the U.S District Court of New Mexico have obtained documents and company computers related to the investigation.

The Financial Institutions Division has asked that clients with questions or comments contact them by email at FID.questions@state.nm.us.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.