Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Missouri AG Drops Criminal Charges Against Alleged Robosigning Outfit; LPS To Cough Up $2M, Agrees To Throw DocX Founder/Ex-Prez Under The Bus

In Columbia, Missouri, The Columbia Daily Tribune reports:

  • A company indicted by a Boone County grand jury in February on criminal charges that it fraudulently prepared mortgage documents for its lender clients has reached a settlement with the Missouri attorney general.

    Attorney General Chris Koster's office announced [] it had agreed to drop charges against DocX. In return, DocX's parent company, Jacksonville, Fla.-based Lender Processing Services, agreed to pay a $2 million fine and cooperate in ongoing criminal proceedings against DocX founder and former President Lorraine Brown.(1)

    The February indictments accused Brown and DocX of forging signatures on documents used to evict people who had fallen behind on their mortgages, a practice commonly known as "robo-signing."

    The charges accuse Brown and the company of submitting 68 deeds of release to Boone County Recorder of Deeds Bettie Johnson notarized by Linda Green, a DocX employee acting as designated vice president for large banks. However, the charges said, Green was not the person who actually signed the documents.

    Numerous instances of questionably prepared mortgage and foreclosure documents have emerged around the country in the wake of the "robo-signing" scandal of 2010.

    The Boone County charges are significant not only because they originated locally but because they are one of the few instances where criminal rather than civil charges have been filed against companies involved in preparing questionable documents.

(1) By obtaining LPS' agreement to cooperate in the ongoing criminal probe against Brown, the Missouri AG's office presumably is operating under the expectation that LPS will throw her under the bus'. How helpful their cooperation turns out to be remains to be seen. As noted by one learned Federal judge in referring to the not-uncommon 'race to the prosecutor's office' that breaks out among participants in an 'about-to-fall-apart' criminal conspiracy:

  • "When a conspiracy is exposed by an arrest or execution of search warrants, soon-to-be defendants know that the first one to "belly up" and tell what he knows receives the best deal. The pressure is to bargain and bargain early, even if an indictment has not been filed." United States v. Moody, 206 F.3d 609, 617 (6th Cir. 2000) (Wiseman, J., concurring).

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