A Las Vegas Notary caught up in what authorities describe as a “massive ‘robo-signing’” scheme was found deceased in her home earlier this week following a Nevada Grand Jury indictment. Local police have ruled out homicide and are investigating the cause of death.
The Notary had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge and was named in hundreds of counts against her supervisors. The “robo-signing” scheme came to light last month when the Attorney General filed the 606-count indictment charging two Santa Ana, California-based supervisors for a national mortgage servicing company with directing several Notary employees in Nevada to forge and notarize their signatures on hundreds of foreclosure-related documents between 2005 and 2008.
The indictment describes that the company employed a routine business practice — managers having employees sign documents on their behalf. This practice, however, becomes illegal when the documents must be notarized. Had the supervisors and Notaries followed proper notarial procedures espoused in Trusted Notary training, they would have required the two supervisors to either appear before a California Notary and send the documents to Nevada, or make numerous trips to Nevada to personally appear before their Notary employees.
The two supervisors are now facing potentially lengthy prison sentences.
The case is one of the first criminal indictments to emerge from the “robo-signing” crisis that came to light in late 2010. It illustrates just how serious authorities are taking notarial misconduct that contributed to the crisis, even years after the fact, and how important it is for Notaries and supervisors to demonstrate a commitment to highest standards for professional competence and ethical conduct.