An investor who lost $1 million in a property deal involving a failed Southlake title company says he’s “blown away” by what happened but is optimistic he’ll get it back.
The company, Millennium Title, was taken over by the Texas Department of Insurance last month when regulators said it had become insolvent, the owner had disappeared and nearly $3 million had vanished from the company’s escrow account.
“It doesn’t seem real,” said Scott Schambacher, owner of a Keller company that buys and sells property.
Schambacher said his company, Avondale Development Group, wired $1 million to Nancy Carroll, the owner of Millennium Title Company.
He said the money was supposed to be held temporarily until a property sale involving several buildings was completed.
"It was one million to the penny,” he said. “Our proceeds were a little more than that, so we said, 'Let's round it out.'"
Schambacher said he stopped by the title office in December to set up a closing date and realized there was a big problem when he overheard the receptionist talking.
"I hear, 'Oh, we don't know where she's at. It appears worse than what we thought. Let me email you something, bla-bla-bla,' and hangs up,” he said. “And I'm thinking that doesn't sound good."
Within a few days, he said he learned the Texas Department of Insurance had seized the company.
In court papers, regulators said the owner, Nancy Carroll, had disappeared and that $3 million was missing from the company's escrow account. Another investor, John Herlihy, filed a lawsuit accusing Carroll of fleeing the country after absconding with $1 million of his money.
"I was blown away,” Schambacher said. “I've been doing this 24 years and have never seen anything like this."
Now, Schambacher said he can’t get any answers about what happened to his money.
"From what we were told, that money went out the same day it went in,” he said.
Now, he doesn't know if he'll ever see the money again.
"I'm a pretty optimistic guy because you've got to be in today's world, so we'll see,” he said.
In emails to NBC 5, Carroll denied the accusations against her and said Schambacher was an investor in Millennium, a claim he denied.
She did not answer specific questions about what happened to the money.
Carroll also referred NBC 5 to her attorney, Michael McCue of Dallas, who did not return phone calls or emails.
Jerry Hagins, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Insurance, said homeowners who had money in escrow with the title company are insured by a state fund.
But he said Schambacher’s $1 million was invested in a special tax-deferred account which the fund does not cover.