Nevada AG Fights Back on Foreclosures With Charges Against ‘Robo-Signers’
Miami foreclosure defense lawyers have written quite a bit lately about the fact that banks and mortgage servicers contracted to work for them have been sitting around, wondering if they will come to a settlement with state prosecutors to avoid a glut of lawsuits.
We’re happy to report that at least one attorney general is taking a more aggressive approach, and may even prove helpful to those who have suffered through foreclosure in Miami and elsewhere as well.
Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Maso announced recently that a grand jury returned a 606-count indictment alleging that two title officers conducted a robo-signing scheme between 2005 and 2008.
Nevada is one of a handful of states whose attorney general has bailed out of negotiations to settle their unethical and illegal practices they conducted once the real estate market crashed and foreclosures began flooding the market. We reported on our blog recently that a dozen top banks are expected to pay $20 billion to settle claims of taking people’s homes away through these actions.
But several attorneys general would rather hold banks accountable instead of letting them off the hook. $20 billion is a lot of money, but nothing compared to the money these banks have made over the years. They bundled and sold loans that defaulted, and have taken away homes from people who couldn’t afford a lawyer and who were victimized when banks made up documents and robo-signed them. They need to be punished further.
And if it takes criminal charges, so be it.
In the Nevada case, Gary Trafford and Gerri Sheppard, both of California, are alleged to have fraudulently notarized and filed documents that were prepared to foreclose on Nevada homeowners. The grand jury alleged that these two directed their employees to forge their names on foreclosure documents and notarize the signatures they just forged. The documents were then filed with the local clerk of courts office in order to start the foreclosure process.
Trafford faces 102 counts each of offering false instruments for recording, a felony, false certification of certain instruments, a felony, and notarization of the signature of a person not in the presence of a notary public, a misdemeanor. Sheppard faces 100 counts each of the same charges.
The documents were allegedly forged in order to rush them to the clerk’s office so they could be filed the same day. Don’t think this is something that happened only in Nevada, either. This is a widespread problem that hasn’t gotten enough attention. It certainly has happened at the Miami-Dade courthouses as well.
Hundreds of thousands of homes were taken away at the beginning of the foreclosure mess. Who knows how many of those were taken with fraudulent and robo-signed documents? Before the problem was well known, the people on the front lines of this battle likely had their rights violated when no one knew what was being done.
Sadly, it’s still being done today even though there are investigations ongoing in every state. Banks have used many unethical and illegal tactics to tackle the foreclosure problems they created with their greed.
If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas, contact Jacobs Legal for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991.