FLORIDA – Is signing foreclosure documents for others forgery?
Michigan’s attorney general launched a criminal investigation that includes whether “falsified signatures” were used in foreclosure cases.
Pam Bondi’s office was cleared of wrongdoing for firing two lawyers.
But Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson were forced to resign their jobs as foreclosure fraud investigators for the Florida Attorney General’s Office, in part, for referring to so-called “surrogate signing” as forgery.
According to a Florida Inspector General report that cleared Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office of wrongdoing in the firings, the duo repeatedly used the word “forgery” in a 2010 presentation that included documents from the Jacksonville-based Lender Processing Services. The company complained and drew the attention of economic crimes boss Richard Lawson.
Lawson says in the inspector general’s Jan. 6 report that surrogate signing as it relates to Lender Processing Services, also called LPS, is not forgery, which requires an intent to defraud. The practice was authorized by the company, more evidence, Lawson said, that no forgery occurred.
Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson, who led Florida’s foreclosure fraud investigations, were routinely praised in performance reviews before losing their jobs.
Homeowner advocates who support Edwards and Clarkson are now questioning portions of the 83-page report. They point to the LPS signature issue as an example of what they say is Florida’s resistance to go after foreclosure fraud. Read more: