Code Section Group

Financial Code - FIN

DIVISION 6. ESCROW AGENTS [17000 - 17703]

  ( Division 6 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 364. )

CHAPTER 5. Hearings [17610 - 17614]
  ( Heading of Chapter 5 added by Stats. 1961, Ch. 475. )


The commissioner, and all persons designated by him, may administer oaths, take the testimony of witnesses, and issue subpenas requiring the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, documents, and other things under their control, at any examination, investigation, or hearing in any part of the State.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 364.)


(a) The commissioner may make such investigations as he or she deems necessary to determine whether any person has violated or is about to violate any provision of this division or any rule or order hereunder or to aid in the enforcement of this division. The commissioner may publish information concerning any violation of this division or any rule or order hereunder.

(b) In making any investigation authorized by subdivision (a), the commissioner may, for a reasonable time not exceeding 30 days, take possession of the books, records, accounts, and other papers pertaining to the business of any escrow agent or joint control agent and place a keeper in exclusive charge of them in the place where they are usually kept. During such possession no person shall remove or attempt to remove any of the books, records, accounts, or other papers except pursuant to a court order or with the consent of the commissioner. However, the directors, officers, partners, and employees of the escrow agent or joint control agent may examine the books, records, accounts, or other papers and the employees shall be permitted to make entries therein reflecting current transactions.

(c) For the purpose of any investigation or proceeding under this division, the commissioner or any officer designated by the commissioner may administer oaths and affirmations, subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, take evidence, and require the production of any books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, agreements, or other documents or records which the commissioner deems relevant or material to the inquiry.

(d) In case of contumacy by, or refusal to obey a subpoena issued to, any person, the superior court, upon application of the commissioner, may issue to the person an order requiring him or her to appear before the commissioner, or the officer designated by the commissioner, there to produce documentary evidence, if so ordered, or to give evidence touching the matter under investigation or in question. Failure to obey the order of the court may be punished by the court as a contempt.

(e) No person is excused from attending and testifying or from producing any document or record before the commissioner, or in obedience to the subpoena of the commissioner, or any officer designated by the commissioner, or in any proceeding instituted by the commissioner, on the ground that the testimony or evidence (documentary or otherwise) required by the commissioner may tend to incriminate the person or subject him or her to a penalty or forfeiture. However, no individual may be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture for or on account of any transaction, matter, or thing concerning which he or she is compelled, after validly claiming his or her privilege against self-incrimination, to testify or produce evidence (documentary or otherwise), except that the individual testimony is not exempt from prosecution and punishment for perjury or contempt committed in testifying.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 663, Sec. 14.)


The authority to make or conduct any examination, investigation, or hearing, including the authority to administer oaths and to subpena witnesses, and to take their testimony may be delegated by the commissioner to any deputy, investigator, or auditor appointed by him for that purpose. The appointment shall be made by an instrument in writing, signed by the commissioner. Upon any examination, investigation, or hearing the instrument shall be produced by the deputy, investigator, or auditor at any time upon demand.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 364.)


All hearings provided for in this division shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 5, Part 1, Division 3, Title 2, of the Government Code, and the commissioner has all the powers granted therein, except that a hearing held in accordance with Section 17604 may be presided over by a hearing officer qualified under Section 11502 of the Government Code, or by any deputy designated by the commissioner.

(Amended by Stats. 1953, Ch. 1076.)


Every order, decision, license or other official act of the commissioner is subject to review, in accordance with law.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 364.)

FINFinancial Code - FIN