A Georgia woman who was an executive for one of the biggest offenders in the robo-signing scandal has pleaded guilty to criminal federal charges in Florida and state charges in Missouri.
Our Miami foreclosure defense attorneys know this case is not only important for individual accountability, but it also sends a message to other corporations, banks and lenders that this will not be tolerated.
It’s believed that her company, DocX, mishandled thousands of mortgage documents in the wake of the foreclosure crisis.
Among the charges she pleaded guilty to were one federal count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and in Missouri, one count each of felony forgery and felony perjury. In the latter case, she could be sentenced to up to three years in prison, but the sentencing has been delayed pending the outcome of the federal case.
Federal statute 18 U.S.C. 371 defines conspiracy to commit mail or wire fraud as the actions of two or more people who conspire either to commit an offense against the U.S. or to defraud the U.S. or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose. When charged as a felony, as in this case, the maximum punishment is five years in federal prison, along with a fine of up to $250,000.
According to prosecutors, the defendant in this case cooked up a scheme to hire dozens of workers to fraudulently notorize and sign thousands upon thousands of mortgage-related documents and paperwork, even though these employees weren’t legally authorized to do so. It’s been alleged that DocX (at other times known as LPS Document Solutions) was hired by mortgage services to handle loan documents, and she promised the availability of authorized signers to be able to facilitate the public filings of the mortgage records.
However, starting in 2005, prosecutors say her company began allowing forgery and falsification on these records, unbeknownst to her clients. She charged anywhere from $5 to $15 per document, and then had temporary workers signing thousands every single day. To give you an idea of how profitable this was: Between 2003 and 2006, the firm raked in $60 million.
There were, of course, other companies doing the same thing around the same time, but prosecutors say her firm was one of the worst in the country. Although the actions that have landed the 56-year-old in prison didn’t start until the last handful of years, the company has actually been around for several decades.
Lender Processing Services Inc., the company that owns LPS Document Solutions, said that it fired her and shut down her unit’s entire operation when it learned of the fraud back in late 2009. It maintains it has fully cooperated with all government investigators.
The robo-signing scandal become public in 2010, with banks pursuing faulty foreclosures by the hundreds of thousands, using documents that were either incomplete or fraudulent. This prompted five of the largest banks earlier this year to agree to a $25 billion deal with attorneys general from 49 states, ending a federal investigation into their foreclosure practices (including robo-signing).
We believe this is a positive step. However, it doesn’t effectively right all the wrongs caused by this firm, and it doesn’t untangle the legal and financial mess that it has left for homeowners to sort out.
If you are facing a foreclosure, we can help.
If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on “Mortgage Wars,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.
Plea deals in mortgage robo-signing in Fla., Mo., Nov. 20, 2012, By Chris Blank, Associated Press
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