First Felony Charges Brought Against Robosigners
Up until now, fraudclosure and robosigning were both merely civil offenses, and as such the banks were actively doing all they could to bury any and all pending litigation under a large settlement umbrella, wash their hands of the whole affair and move on, with nobody in danger of actually walking the plank and certainly not in danger of going to jail. That has all changed as of now, following a Nevada Grand Jury handing down criminal indictments against two title officers employed by Lender Processing Services Inc. for allegedly directing and supervising a robo-signing scheme, in which documents filed in foreclosure cases were signed without proper legal review, Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said Wednesday. The case which, if won on behalf of the plaintiffs, could easily mean several lifetime sentences for one Linda Green, is likely just the beginning of a wave of criminal charges against the thousands of robosigners involved at every stage of housing bubble, and quite possibly is starting as a midlevel fishing expedition which will see gradual escalation up the ranks as the "robotic" ones rat each other out in succession until the elevator goes to the very top floor. Just which floor that is remains to be see although somehow we have a feeling it will be found in the Bank of America tower.
From the WSJ:
The 606-count indictment alleges that the two title officers, Gary Trafford and Gerri Sheppard, directed employees under their supervision to forge their names on foreclosure documents, then notarize the forged signatures, so that it appeared that the pair actually signed the documents.
The pair then allegedly directed the employees to file the fraudulent documents with the County Recorder's office in Clark County, Nevada. The grand jury found "probable cause" that the alleged scheme "resulted in the filing of tens of thousands of fraudulent documents ... between 2005 and 2008," said Nevada Chief Deputy Attorney General John Kelleher.
A spokeswoman for LPS confirmed that the pair works for the company, but said the company couldn't comment further because it hadn't been notified about the indictment. Kenneth Julian, an attorney representing the pair, also declined to comment.
The full indictment is below. Needless to say every single Bank of America in-house counsel is feverishly reading this right now, as the feces just got real for both Brian Moynihan and Ken Lewis.