410 Main’s Next Upstairs, Downstairs Bars; Here Come the Trail Riders


Photo of US-59 at Buffalo Bayou: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


9 Comment

  • Not an unnamed title company, it was Kirk Smith of Guardian Fidelity Title (according to Harris County District Court records). Surprising this sort of thing happened quite frequently, including a large local accounting firm, and a franchise that owns several Ford dealerships.

  • commonsense: I use a few title companies quite often. They’re generally sooo conservative about things. Every t must be crossed, etc (which is far different from my overly causal attitude about most formalities).
    Point being, given the crazy conservative nature of title companies that I’ve seen, it surprises me that this guy would be so bold.

  • Mind boggling that kiting on this scale could happen these days.
    From the FBI release: “From January through June 2008, the number and amount of checks kited by Smith increased substantially. During this six-month time period, the combined deposits of nine accounts at the remaining Houston-area banks totaled $128,499,315.99. Almost 99% of these deposits—$127,010,571.40—were from checks made payable between the nine accounts. ”
    Also crazy that this happened nearly seven years ago. The guy plead guilty a year and a half ago, and they’re just getting around to sentencing.

  • @Cody, title companies are generally very conservative, but their conservative practices stem from the lack of desire to pay any claims. In their business, if they do their research right and err on the side of caution they technically would never have to pay out anything (on average they pay 1.5 cents in claims for every dollar they collect in premiums). Other than that, there’s no real oversight or auditing going on.
    In fact because title companies accounts churn millions of dollars with easily explainable sources and reasons, banks give them a lot of leeway, which in turn made his check kiting scheme a lot easier.

  • Check kiting is a very old school crime.

  • Oh the good ole days of crooked title companies. Most are legitimate, the state regulates pretty heavily, the difference between them all is service and some totally lack that. @Cody, you may not recall J R McConnell, who met his demise in the Harris County jail where he electrocuted himself while awaiting justice.

  • Is it just me, or is the 400 block of Main just one big revolving door of forgettable clubs?

  • What Ford franchise was mixed up in this?

  • Joe Meyer’s Ford, it wasn’t with the title company, they got busted for their own check kiting scheme a few years prior to that.