The Department of Justice and the state of Missouri have each announced criminal plea bargains with one Lorraine Brown, former chief executive of DocX, the Lender Processing subsidiary best known for its price sheet for fabricating the mortgage documents a servicer, or frankly, anyone would need to claim they had standing to foreclose on your home. Funny how that particular DocX product was mentioned no where in the plea deals.
Brown admitted guilt to perpetrating a six-year scheme, from 2003 to 2009 to forge and falsify over a million signatures, including now-infamous practices such as “surrogate signing”, in which other employees, typically temps, would forge the signatures of robosigners. The federal penalties are up to five years in prison plus $250,000 in fines; the Missouri penalties re two to three years in prison.
Several things are striking about this deal. First is that it appears that the Missouri suit against Brown goaded the Feds to join. It’s hardly unheard of for state regulators to embarrass their Federal counterparts into action, and the DoJ probably could not afford to sit out a successful prosecution on its beat, particularly after all the noise the Obama Administration has made about its new, improved anti mortgage fraud efforts. But that makes the second item more striking: how the “statement of facts” presents Brown as deceiving Lender Processing Services about her illegal actions. Brown is thus a rogue executive whose misdeeds presumably don’t have bigger implications for LPS or the industry. It’s nauseating to see the filings take that position and contain statements like this:
When hiring DocX to sign documents, servicers typically issued special corporate resolutions delegating document execution authority to specific, authorized, and trained personnel at DocX. The DocX employees who were given express signing authority from DocX’s clients and who, as represented by Brown, were purportedly trained to ensure that the clients’ documents were properly created, signed, and notarized were called “Authorized Signers.” These documents were then generally recorded by DocX with the appropriate local property recorders’ offices throughout the country.
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