When bankers get bashed in court, I'm often rushing to their defense, if not because I actually care, then at least because I'm paid to fake it. However, as I made clear in an extended rant this past March, I've got no sympathy for aspects of the robo-signing scandal that involve perjury. As I said six months ago, "[i]f robo-signers and their enablers (because it's important to cast a wide net in order to catch the big fish) get some serious time in the cooler for having perjured themselves or abetted the practice of perjury by others, then maybe we'll have stuck a small trowel of mortar into the cracks of the crumbling wall of Western civilization."
It appears that Nevada, of all places, is leading the charge to fill in those cracks.
Two employees of Lender Processing Services 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.
Apparently, the company is not the target of the prosecutors. LPS also issued a statement that claimed that it had performed a thorough review of foreclosure document signing and notarizing procedures.
"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.
For the time being, we'll buy the company's story that the two indicted employees were operating as rogues. However, the robo-signing scandal was so widespread, across so many entities, that it's difficult to swallow that there weren't more folks in each loan servicing entity where robo-signing occurred than just a couple of fall guys who had a clue to what was going on.
Time will tell. We'll be waiting for more shoes to drop.
It's interesting that for once in Sin City, what happened there didn't stay there.