Tracy Lawrence, Notary Public Who Blew The Whistle On Massive Foreclosure Fraud, Found Dead
A sign hangs outside a foreclosed home in North Las Vegas, Nevada. (File photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
The Huffington Post First Posted: 11/30/11 08:10 AM ET Updated: 11/30/11 08:10 AM ET
Tracy Lawrence, the notary public who blew the whistle on a massive foreclosure fraud scheme, was found dead in her Las Vegas home on Nov. 28, MSNBC reported.
Cause of death has not yet been determined, but Officer Jacinto Rivera, a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department spokesman, said the case was not being investigated as homicide. She was 43.
Earlier this month, Lawrence came forward and admitted to the Nevada Attorney General’s Office that she notarized 25,000 fraudulent documents for Lender Processing Services, a Florida company used by most major banks to process home repossessions. The documents were filed with the Clark County Recorder’s Office between 2005 and 2008, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Lawrence also accused two loan officers of allegedly running the massive robo-signing scheme, saying they forged signatures on tens of thousands of default notices. Nevada now alleges that Gary Trafford, 49, of Irvine, Calif., and Gerri Sheppard, 62, of Santa Ana, Calif., directed their employees to forge foreclosure documents, notarize the signatures on the documents they had forged and file the fraudulent paperwork in order to begin foreclosures on homes throughout the county.
Trafford and Sheppard have been indicted on more than 600 counts of offering false instruments for recording, false certification on certain instruments and notarization of the signature of a person not in the presence of a notary public. Authorities are currently negotiating the terms of their surrender, KSNV MyNews 3 reported.
Earlier this month, Lawrence pleaded guilty to one count of notarizing the signature of a person not in her presence, The Associated Press reported. Had Lawrence shown up at her sentencing hearing on Monday, she could have faced a potential sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
On Nov. 17, Lender Processing Services issued a statement acknowledging that the signing procedures on some of documents were flawed. The company also agreed to fully cooperate with the attorney general’s investigation.
“I am deeply committed to ensuring that LPS meets rigorous standards of professional conduct and operating excellence,” newly appointed LPS President and CEO Hugh Harris stated. “I have full confidence in the ability of our leadership team and over 8,000 dedicated employees to deliver on that commitment.”
According to RealtyTrac, Nevada has had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation for 56 straight months.
See Video on Newest Foreclosure Plan at HufPo Business – Expected to have minimal affect on problem.
h/t to Sue Hooper