Title Officers Charged in Robo-Signing Felonies

By Mike Colpitts

Two title officers associated with Lender Processing Services have been indicted by a Nevada county grand jury foreclosure fraud on charges related to illegal robo-signings, according to the Office of the Nevada Attorney General.

The two LPS employees, Gary Trafford and Gerri Sheppard, were indicted on 606 counts. The charges relate to allegations of offering false instruments for legal recording and false certification on legal paperwork, both felonies in the state of Nevada. The two allegedly directed employees to forge their names on Notices of Default to start the foreclosure process.

The two, who are California residents, allegedly ordered employees to forge the documents on thousands of legal papers in Clark County, Nevada starting in 2005 through 2008 to process foreclosures. Trafford and Sheppard were also charged with notarizing a signature of a person not in the presence of a notary public, a misdemeanor.

LPS reportedly ran several operations with employees signing legal documents to process foreclosures throughout the U.S., which has commonly become known as robo-signing. Former company employees have admitted to federal authorities to making at least tens of thousands of forged signatures on documents at the direction of LPS management.

The documents were used to start the foreclosure process on homes that went into default in the Las Vegas area, which has been one of the most heavily impacted cities in the U.S. foreclosure crisis.

Lending Processing Services

“Based on the company’s reviews, LPS acknowledges the signing procedures on some of these documents were flawed,” LPS said in a statement released to the media. “However, the company also believes these documents were properly authorized and their recording did not result in a wrongful foreclosure.”

The robo-signing scandal came to light a year ago after news reports indicated that former LPS employees admitted in sworn statements they forged thousands of documents at the company’s direction.

The new company president and CEO hopes to improve LPS standards. “I am deeply committed to ensuring that LPS meets rigorous standards of professional conduct and operating excellence,” said LPS president Hugh Harris, whose company is fighting thousands of lawsuits associated with the scandal. “I have full confidence in the ability of our leadership team and over 8,000 dedicated employees to deliver on that commitment.”