LAS VEGAS -- Nevada's Attorney General is going after the nation's largest home default company. Lender Processing Services, or LPS, has its hand in tens of thousands of Nevada home evictions and foreclosures.
Initially, the Nevada Attorney General's office went after LPS's middle managers. Now, they're going after the top bosses claiming they lied under oath and created a company filled with fraud.
Former title officer Gary Trafford arrived from California to face a Nevada judge for the first time. While working for LPS, he's accused of managing a robo-signing scheme. He's charged with ordering notaries to forge hundreds of signatures a day. Trafford plead not guilty to a 606-count state indictment.
Both Trafford and fellow title officer Gerri Sheppard face trial in September. At the same time, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto announces she's going after their bosses at LPS. She says she is focusing on LPS because they are a big player in the default servicing component of mortgages and their processes and procedures were violating laws.
"So, the civil action is to stop them, prohibit them from continuing to utilize the procedures that they've been using in violation of our law," Cortez Masto said.
She says employees were required to notarize and forge up to 4,000 documents a day. One confidential witness told investigators it didn't matter some of his notary co-workers "couldn't read English well because reading documents wasn't part of the job."
The Attorney General's office also says LPS demanded kickback payments from law firms in the foreclosure businesses. Those firms then allegedly passed on those expenses to Nevada consumers and courts. Investigators reviewed more than one million pages of documents.
People at the top of the $2.5 billion company are accused, in the lawsuit, of lying under oath in previous robo-signing testimony.
"It starts at the top in this particular case where we have concerns based on our investigation that people within the company that knew what was going on and condoned it," said Cortez Masto.
LPS hasn't responded to the lawsuit. When their two title officers were indicted, they admitted some of their documents were "flawed" but that nobody was wrongfully foreclosed. They also claim they are cooperating fully. Cortez Masto says it may take several months for this case to get to trial.
The I-Team has spent countless hours investigating robo-signing and other practices that have fueled the foreclosure crisis. 8 News NOW will air a one-hour special, Desert Underwater, on Monday at 6:30 p.m.