Nevada AG Announces Criminal Charges For Robo-Signing

The office of Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto has become the first to file criminal charges in connection with robo-signed foreclosure documents. This week, Masto's office announced a 606-count indictment against Gary Trafford and Gerri Sheppard, two title officers employed by Lender Processing Services (LPS).

According to the indictment, Trafford and Sheppard directed and supervised a robo-signing scheme that resulted in the filing of thousands of notices of default (NODs) and deeds of trust with the Clark County Recorder's Office between 2005 and 2008. Trafford and Sheppard are charged with offering false instruments for recording, false certification of certain instruments, and notarization of the signature of a person not in the presence of a notary public.

"The grand jury found probable cause that there was a robo-signing scheme, which resulted in the filing of tens of thousands of fraudulent documents with the Clark County Recorder's Office between 2005 and 2008," Nevada Chief Deputy Attorney General John Kelleher said in a statement.

The indictment further alleges that Trafford and Sheppard committed their scheme 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, Masto's office says.

In a statement, LPS said it has fully cooperated with the attorney general's investigation and that the AG's office had confirmed this month that LPS was not a target of the investigation.

The company's reviews revealed that signing procedures on some documents were flawed, LPS says, adding that it believes those documents were nonetheless properly authorized and that their recording did not result in a wrongful foreclosure.

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