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Robo-Signing Moves from Civil to Criminal

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Two employees of Lender Processing Services Inc. have been criminally charged for allegedly robo-signing thousands of foreclosure documents. LPS acknowledged the allegations but said that the actions led to no wrongful foreclosures.

The indictment came Tuesday from Nevada’s Office of the Attorney General.

According to an announcement, a 606-count indictment was returned by a Clark County grand jury against Gary Trafford and Gerri Sheppard.

The two defendants are California residents and title agents for Jacksonville, Fla.-based LPS.

The state alleges that Trafford and Sheppard directed and supervised a robo-signing scheme where tens of thousands of fraudulent documents were filed with the Clark County Recorder’s Office between 2005 and 2008.


Clark County mug shots of
Gary Trafford and Gerri Sheppard

Trafford was charged with 102 counts of offering false instruments for recording, false certification on certain instruments and notarization of the signature of a person not in the presence of a notary public. Sheppard was charged with 100 counts of offering false instruments for recording, false certification on certain instruments and notarization of the signature of a person not in the presence of a notary public.

The two defendants allegedly had employees in Nevada prepare notices of default, and then directed them to forge their names and falsely notarize the documents. Employees were then secretly told to file the forged documents with the county recorders office.

The notices were used to initiate foreclosures on Clark County properties.

For its part, LPS issued a statement acknowledging that the signing procedures on some of the documents were flawed but said it believed that they were properly authorized and their recording did not result in a wrongful foreclosure.

“I am deeply committed to ensuring that LPS meets rigorous standards of professional conduct and operating excellence,” LPS President and Chief Executive Officer Hugh Harris said in the statement.

Harris was named CEO of LPS on Oct. 5, replacing Jeffrey S. Carbiener who resigned in July.

LPS said that when it recently learned about the attorney general’s inquiry, it expressed its willingness to fully cooperate with the investigation.

“Earlier this month, the attorney general’s office confirmed that the company was not a target of this inquiry,” LPS said.

Bail has been set at $500,000 each for Trafford and Sheppard.

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