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Legal Ethics

Next ‘Huge Issue’ in Foreclosures: Faked Lawyer Signatures

Posted Dec 14, 2010 8:41 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A new problem has emerged in three recent court cases challenging foreclosures: faked attorney signatures.

Several lawsuits have already uncovered so-called robo-signers, bank employees who signed foreclosure affidavits without reviewing the documents. Now new suits claim clerical staffers have signed papers for lawyers who sometimes failed to review the work, the ProPublica Blog reports.

One suit filed in Pennsylvania federal court against Goldbeck McCafferty & McKeever claims nonlawyers at the firm routinely signed papers without attorney oversight. Similar allegations have been made in suits against two Maryland law firms and a foreclosure contractor called Lender Processing Services.

The suit against Lender Processing Services claims the company illegally practiced law and obtained kickbacks from law firms through illegal fee sharing deals, Reuters has previously reported.

The ProPublica story quotes consumer bankruptcy lawyer Max Gardner, an expert on foreclosures. He expects false lawyer signatures will face increasing scrutiny, possibly in class action suits, attorney ethics cases, and state investigations. "I think this is the next huge issue," Gardner told the publication.

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