Nevada grand jury indicts 2 LPS workers on robo-signing charges

[Update 1: Updates original story with LPS connections and response.] Two employees of Lender Processing Services (LPS) were indicted in Nevada on alleged robo-signing charges connected to foreclosure filings, according to the Office of the Nevada Attorney General. Gary Trafford and Gerri Sheppard, both California residents described as title officers, were indicted on a total of 606 counts by a Clark County grand jury. Charges include allegations of offering false instruments for recording and false certification on certain instruments, both felonies, at the Clark County Recorder’s Office between 2005 and 2008. The two were also charged with notarization of the signature of a person not in the presence of a notary public, a misdemeanor. The documents, notices of default, were used to initiate foreclosures, according to the attorney general’s office. Trafford and Sheppard allegedly told employees to forge their names and notarize the signatures. LPS has cooperated fully with the investigation, the Jacksonville, Fla.-based company said in a media statement Thursday morning. “Earlier this month, the attorney general’s office confirmed that the company was not a target of this inquiry,” the company said. It earlier disclosed that since 2010, it has conducted reviews of its processes used in signing and notarization of documents used in foreclosure proceedings. “Based on the company’s reviews, 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,” the company said in a statement. “I am deeply committed to ensuring that LPS meets rigorous standards of professional conduct and operating excellence,” said newly appointed LPS President and CEO Hugh Harris. A former employee supervised by Trafford and Sheppard said she forged signatures on more than 25,000 notices of default, according to KLAS-TV in Las Vegas. Las Vegas, the seat of Clark County, is one of the hotbeds of the housing crisis. The city was No. 5 in a list of top U.S. foreclosure cities in October from RealtyTrac after holding the top spot for 22 months. The robo-signing scandal broke last fall, and since then has resulted in numerous investigations, including a 50-state attorneys general investigation. Discussions of a potential settlement in the AG case are still under way. A district court judge set bail at $500,000 each for Trafford and Sheppard. Write to Andrew Scoggin. Follow him on Twitter @ascoggin.

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