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Three more Nevada notaries charged in foreclosure fraud case

Three more Nevada notaries are accused of falsely attesting to legal signatures on foreclosure documents in a Las Vegas-area mortgage fraud scheme that has led to the indictment of two Southern California title officers, the state attorney general’s office said Monday.

The announcement that Meghan Shaw, Jennifer Lowe and Joseph Noel each face one charge of notarizing a signature of a person not in their presence came a week after Tracy Lawrence, the first notary identified as a witness in the “robo-signing” case, was found dead at home after missing sentencing on a similar charge.

The charge is a gross misdemeanor and carries up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine. Court records filed Wednesday refer to Lowe as Jennifer Bloecker.

Each of the three, like Lawrence, testified before a grand jury that handed up a more than 600-count indictment accusing Geraldine Ann Sheppard, 62, of Santa Ana, Calif., and Gary Randall Trafford, 49, of Irvine, Calif., of heading a scheme that led to the filing of tens of thousands of fraudulent foreclosure documents in Las Vegas between 2005 and 2008.

Sheppard and Trafford are employees of a publicly traded company, Lender Processing Services Inc., based in Jacksonville, Fla., that provides technology and services to major banks. Noel formerly worked for the company.

The indictment alleged that Sheppard and Trafford directed employees to notarize forged signatures on documents filed with the Clark County recorder’s office to start home foreclosures.

Nevada has been the state hit hardest by the recession and the housing crisis, leading the nation in bankruptcies, foreclosures and unemployment.

Lender Processing Services officials declined to comment Monday about Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto’s announcement that more notaries were cooperating with the prosecution.

President and CEO Hugh Harris issued a statement last month acknowledging flaws in signing procedures on some documents, but the company said it thought documents were properly authorized and their recording didn’t result in a wrongful foreclosure.

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