Foreclosure crisisFlorida's attorney general's office has subpoenaed Lender Processing Services (LPS), a company deeply mired in the foreclosure mess, as part of its investigation into potentially flawed foreclosure paperwork. The subpoena, dated Wednesday, appears to be the first step in a civil -- not criminal -- investigation of LPS.

It's the latest piece of very bad news for LPS, which is currently facing two class-actions alleging its business model is illegal. The AG's office is investigating the possibility that LPS and its DocX subsidiary created "forged, incorrectly and illegally executed, false and misleading" documents to accelerate foreclosures.

"These documents are used in court cases as 'real' documents of assignment and presented to the court as so, when it actually appears that they are fabricated in order to meet the demands of the institution that does not, in fact, have the necessary documentation to foreclose according to law," according to the AG's website.

Michelle Kersch, a senior vice president at LPS, confirmed the company received the subpoena Wednesday. "As we have said before, LPS has been cooperating fully with all such inquiries, and of course we look forward to the opportunity to continue to bring greater clarity to our business," she said in an email interview.

The Florida AG's office has requested a broad range of LPS documents, including every "network agreement" that LPS has signed with a Florida law firm; all policies and procedures manuals or training materials, including those related to drafting or signing foreclosure and mortgage documents; any price lists LPS gives customers; its financial transactions with title companies, process servers and recording services in connection with foreclosures; and similar documents involving the four foreclosure law firms the Florida AG is currently investigating: The Law Offices of David J. Stern, Florida Default Law Group, Shapiro & Fishman, and the Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson.

The subpoena is signed by the two assistant attorneys general who conducted the deposition of Tammie Lou Kapusta, a former paralegal at the Law Offices of David J. Stern, who testified that the law firm manufactured documents as needed, backdated documents and signed documents without reading them.

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