LAS VEGAS—Two title officers have been indicted on more than 600 charges alleging they directed a "robo-signing" scheme that led to the filing of tens of thousands of fraudulent foreclosure documents, the Nevada attorney general's office said Wednesday.
A Clark County District Court judge issued warrants for California residents Gary Randall Trafford, 49, and Geraldine Ann Sheppard, 62, after a grand jury handed up the 439-page indictment. Their hometowns were unavailable, and they could not be immediately located for comment.
The indictment says that between 2005 and 2008, Trafford and Sheppard directed employees to forge their names on foreclosure documents, then notarize the signatures they just forged. The defendants then had the employees file the fraudulent notices of default with the county recorder's office to begin foreclosures on homes.
Trafford and Sheppard face more than 200 felony charges of offering a false instrument and false certification of an instrument, and more than 100 misdemeanor notarization charges, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said.
Jennifer Lopez, a spokeswoman for Masto, said Trafford and Sheppard had not been arrested.
Nevada has been the state hit hardest by the recession and the housing crisis, leading the nation in bankruptcies, foreclosures and unemployment. Yet, the problem of shoddy mortgage paperwork, which comprises several shortcuts known collectively as "robo-signing," is more widespread.
Judges who handle foreclosures in Maine, California, Arizona, New York and other states have thrown out foreclosure cases because documents apparently were robo-signers. The nation's largest banks, including