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First Criminal Charges in Robo-Signing Case

First Criminal Charges in Robo-Signing Case

Nevada’s Attorney General announced on Thursday that two Orange County title loan officers have been indicted for filing tens of thousands of improper documents in a “massive” robo-signing mortgage scheme related to Las Vegas-area foreclosures.  The indictments represent the first criminal charges filed in association with robo-signing, an illegal act of falsifying foreclosure documents.

Gary Trafford, 49, of Irvine and Geraldine Sheppard, 62, of Santa Ana were charged on 606 counts, alleging that the two supervised numerous robo-signings in Nevada between 2005 and 2008. The two title loan officers worked for the firm Lender Processing Services (LPS), a foreclosure processing company which processes loans for more than 50% of all U.S. mortgages. LPS has not been charged with anything related to the indictments but said in a statement that it is working with the authorities.

According to the indictment, defendant Gary Trafford is charged with 102 counts of offering false instruments for recording (felony); false certification on certain instruments (felony); and notarization of the signature of a person not in the presence of a notary public (misdemeanor). The indictment charges defendant Gerri Sheppard with 100 counts of offering false instruments for recording (felony); false certification on certain instruments (felony); and notarization of the signature of a person not in the presence of a notary public (misdemeanor). The indictment alleges that both defendants directed the fraudulent notarization and filing of documents which were used to initiate foreclosure on local homeowners.

These indictments are the first in what may be a long series of criminal charges in the alleged robo-signing case.

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