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Indiana gets $1.6 million to settle ‘robo-signing’ suit

Statement as issued Friday by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office:

INDIANAPOLIS – A Florida-based company is set to pay Indiana more than $1.6 million to resolve allegations that it fraudulently “robo-signed” mortgage related documents.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller joined 43 other attorneys general and the District of Columbia in a $120 million multi-state settlement with Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS). Indiana’s lawsuit and proposed consent judgment was filed Thursday in Marion County.

The consent judgment, if approved by the court, settles allegations that the company, which primarily provides technological support to banks and mortgage loan servicers, “robo-signed” documents and engaged in other improper conduct related to mortgage loan default servicing. “Robosigning” is where documents contain unauthorized signatures or may contain inaccurate information.

“Consumers trust that their home loans will be treated fairly and accurately, but cases like this erode the public’s confidence in the system,” Zoeller said. “Today’s settlement underscores the states’ continued efforts to make sure companies are held accountable for their actions and homeownership, one of our most important assets, is protected.”

When entered by the court, the judgment would require LPS and its subsidiaries, LPS Default Solutions and DocX, to reform its business practices and, if necessary, to correct documents it executed to assist the homeowner.

The consent judgment requires proper execution of documents and prohibits signatures by unauthorized persons or those without first-hand knowledge of facts attested to in the documents. Also, the judgment requires enhanced oversight of the default services provided and a review of all third-party fees to ensure that the fees are reasonable and accurate.

In the proposed settlement, LPS stipulates to important facts uncovered in the investigation, including the practice by DocX of so-called “surrogate signing,” the signing of documents by an unauthorized person in the name of another and notarizing those documents as if they had been signed by the proper person, as well as other improprieties in the document execution and recordation or filing process.

Once the judgment is entered by the courts, LPS will undertake a review of its roughly 3.5 million mortgage-related documents that it executed during the period of Jan. 1, 2008 to Dec. 31, 2010. The purpose is to determine what documents, if any, need to be re-executed or corrected. If LPS is authorized to make the corrections, it will do so and will make periodic reports to the attorney general of the status of its review and/or modification of documents.

If a person’s property records contain documents executed by the company during the period of 2008 to 2010, the documents will be identified as part of the review process. The fact that an individual’s records may contain a document executed by LPS does not necessarily mean that they are defective or invalid or legally impacted in any way. LPS will also setup a toll-free number – to be made available on their website www.lpsvcs.com – for consumers to request review and correction of any documents executed by the company from any time period. Consumers with questions can also call the Indiana Attorney General’s Office 1-800-382-5516.

Zoeller said Indiana’s monetary portion of the settlement will be used for consumer education efforts, as well as, to reimburse the office for costs of the investigation.

The following states joined in today’s settlement: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the District of Columbia.

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