LPS Settles Federal Mortgage Fraud Inquiry for $35M
02/15/2013 BY: ESTHER CHO
Lender Processing Services Inc. (LPS) agreed to pay $35 million to resolve criminal fraud violations involving fraudulently signed and notarized mortgage documents, the Justice Department announced Friday.
LPS entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. Through the settlement, LPS announced it will pay $20 million to the United States Marshals Service and $15 million to Treasury.
The agreement also requires the company to meet a series of other conditions.
The department stated LPS has already taken a number of remedial actions to address the misconduct at DocX, a wholly owned subsidiary of LPS, and has wound down all the subsidiary’s operations and re-executed and re-filed mortgage assignments as necessary.
The settlement follows guilty pleas from Lorraine Brown, the former CEO/president of DocX. In November, Brown pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in federal court in Florida and entered a plea deal in Missouri. Michigan attorney general Bill Schuette also brought charges against Brown and recently announced the former CEO pled guilty to racketeering.
The Justice Department statement explained that over a 6-year period ending in 2009, employees of DocX falsified signatures on mortgage-related documents. Brown and others at DocX were accused of directing authorized signers to allow unauthorized staff to sign and have documents notarized in order to increase profits.
The announcement follows a $127 million multistate settlement in January to resolve “robo-signing” allegations.
In a statement, Hugh Harris, LPS president and CEO, said, “[t]he conclusion of the Justice Department’s inquiry is another positive step for LPS.”
“Coupled with recent settlements with multiple state attorneys general, as well as other litigation, LPS has effectively dealt with its legacy issues related to past business practices and is squarely focused on delivering leading technology-driven solutions to enable the mortgage industry to meet its new requirements,” Harris added.