Nevada AG Files First Ever Robo-Signing Criminal Charges
Gary Trafford and Gerri Sheppard, two employees of Lender Processing Services Inc. (LPS), have been indicted by Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto on 606 counts of directing employees to file tens of thousands of false documents in foreclosure proceedings with the Clark County Recorder’s Office in Nevada between 2005-2008. Bail has been set for both Sheppard and Trafford at $500,000.
According to the indictment, Trafford, a California resident, is charged with 102 counts of offering false instruments for recording (a category C felony); false certification on certain instruments (a category D felony); and notarization of the signature of a person not in the presence of a notary public (a gross misdemeanor). The indictment charges Sheppard, also a California resident, with 100 counts of offering false instruments for recording (a category C felony); false certification on certain instruments (a category D felony); and notarization of the signature of a person not in the presence of a notary public (a gross misdemeanor).
"LPS acknowledges the signing procedures on some of these documents were flawed; however, the company also believes these documents were properly authorized and their recording did not result in a wrongful foreclosure," said an official statement from the company.
The indictment alleges that both defendants directed the fraudulent notarization and filing of documents which were used to initiate foreclosure on local homeowners.
The state of Nevada alleges that these documents, referred to as Notices of Default (NODs), were prepared locally. The state alleges that the defendants directed employees under their supervision, to forge their names on foreclosure documents, then notarize the signatures they just forged, thereby fraudulently attesting that the defendants actually signed the documents, which was untrue and in violation of state law. The defendants then allegedly directed the employees under their supervision to file the fraudulent documents with the Clark County Recorder’s office, to be used to start foreclosures on homes throughout the County. The indictment alleges that these crimes were done in secret in order to avoid detection. The fraudulent NODs were allegedly forged locally to allow them to be filed at the Clark County Recorder’s office on the same day they were prepared.
"I am deeply committed to ensuring that LPS meets rigorous standards of professional conduct and operating excellence," said LPS President and Chief Executive Officer Hugh Harris. "I have full confidence in the ability of our leadership team and more than 8,000 dedicated employees to deliver on that commitment."
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