“Former secretary says signatures were faked at law firm being investigated over foreclosures”
The Associated Press
By MIKE SCHNEIDER and TAMARA LUSH Associated Press Writers
“An office manager at a Florida law firm under investigation for fabricating foreclosure documents would sign her name to 1,000 files a day without reviewing them and would allow paralegals to sign her name for her when she got tired, her former secretary said in a deposition released Monday.
Cheryl Salmons, office manager for the foreclosure department at the law offices of David Stern, would sign 500 files in the morning and another 500 files in the afternoon without reviewing them and with no witnesses, said former assistant Kelly Scott in a deposition released by the Florida attorney general’s office.
The files were laid out on a conference room table for Salmons to sign, the former secretary said.
“She doesn’t review them. She just looks,” Scott said. “The paper is going to be in the top folder so it’s visible to her, and she knows exactly where she has to put her signature.”
Paralegals would then collect the files and swap them with each other, signing them as witnesses even though they had already been notarized and executed, Scott said.
Salmons allowed some paralegals to sign her name for her, said the former assistant, who worked at the firm for a year in 2008.
The deposition took place two weeks ago as part of the attorney general’s investigation into the law firm.
Another deposition released Monday was of Mary Cordova, who worked at G&Z Process for two months. Stern’s law firm used G&Z as a process server for foreclosures.
Cordova said when she was hired, she was told that she needed to process at least 22 cases per eight-hour shift.
“It was almost like we didn’t have time to really look at what we were doing,” she said during her deposition. “It’s like this is the particular information, input that, turn that page, here’s this piece of information, type that in. It’s more about speed than accuracy per se. Although a supervisor would look at the papers to see if they’re pretty accurate.”