LPS Foreclosure Fraud Whistleblower Found Dead (Updated)

Nevada notary Tracy Lawrence, who was due to be sentenced today to up to a year in jail for a single count of misdemeanor fraud, went missing from her sentencing hearing today and was found dead. Per the Associated Press (hat tip reader Scott):

Las Vegas police say it could be weeks before investigators know how 43-year-old Tracy Lawrence died.

Her body was found about 11:30 a.m. Monday at her Las Vegas apartment.

Police Sgt. Matt Sanford says there’s no apparent sign of foul play, and coroner toxicology tests could take up to eight weeks.

Lawrence would have faced up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine earlier Monday for her guilty plea Nov. 17 to one criminal charge of notarizing the signature of a person not in her presence.

KSNV-TV reports ( http://bit.ly/vWSDtv) that Lawrence admitted notarizing tens of thousands of fraudulent documents as part of a wider foreclosure fraud scheme.

Reader Peter W fills in the blank (pun intended) that Lawrence’s document chicanery involved the staff of Lender Processing Services. The version of the story posted at The Fly on the Wall has as its final sentence:

Lawrence had earlier admitted to notarizing “tens of thousands of fraudulent documents” as part of a wider foreclosure fraud scheme involving employees of Lender Processing Services (LPS).

As sad as this is for Lawrence’s friend and family, the more the foot soliders of foreclosure abuses start to face real costs, meaning jail time, the harder it will become to perpetrate these sorts of frauds. That is the way the law is supposed to work, after all.

Update: Holy moley, the initial press reports omitted the key fact: it was Lawrence who turned Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto on to two mid level LPS employees who face up to 30 years in jail each if found guilty. From MSNBC:

Lawrence came forward earlier this month and blew the whistle on the operation, in which title officers Gary Trafford, 49, of Irvine, Calif., and Geraldine Sheppard, 62, of Santa Ana, Calif. — who worked for a Florida processing company used by most major banks to process repossessions — allegedly forged signatures on tens of thousands of default notices from 2005 to 2008.

Trafford and Sheppard were charged two weeks ago with 606 counts of offering false instruments for recording, false certification on certain instruments and notarization of the signature of a person not in the presence of a notary public. You can read a .pdf version of their indictment here.

Our post on this case, which includes the indictment, is here.

Needless to say, this puts a very different complexion on things..

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    1. HW

      Not actually replying to this immediate comment.

      I want to say that questioning the cause of death here is perfectly reasonable, does not require ‘conspiracy’ theory, and is not accusing any specific person.

      All it is is saying ‘something may be fishy here, alert.’

      If you bother to read this whole thread, some people continually argue that this ‘fishiness’ should not dare be mentioned.

    2. Susan the other

      They will have to archive samples because some toxics cannot yet be traced. So if it was a hit it was done knowing it would not be traced and so Tracy was used to terrorize future whistle blowers as well as screw up Masto’s case. And if it was not a hit no one will ever really believe it because it is too coincidental and the stakes are too high. If they do find it was murder at least the statute of limitations will not run out. Altho’ the Constitution might. Our country becomes more sinister by the day. I guess the main targets were the two indicted LPS workers. Just wondering what this does to the other AGs – Schneiderman, Biden, Coakley (sp?) etc.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      re: “how the law is supposed to work”??? Who will be inclined to confess after this? Has everyone now gotten the *message*?

      Seriously, Yves, the *little guys* who *confess* their crimes at the behest of the Criminal Reich must get into the witness protection program, and offer their testimony by deposition. And even this may be wishful thinking.

      The intimidation of *death guaranteed*, perhaps with torture beforehand, is powerful. The 1% don’t kid around.

      1. Brian

        How do you know a 1%er did it? as you seem to imply. What if it was an angry homeowner? What if it was a random serial killer? Or maybe she herself got mixed up with the wrong people concerning something completely separate? Or does innocent until proven guilty not matter anymore? Or does it only matter if it’s applied to the section of populace that you identify yourself with? God forbid that an investigation be conducted first in order to discovery guilt.

        It seems that you’re not so opposed to the selective legislation and enforcement of the law so long as it favors you. This type of perverse thinking has no hope of preserving a democratic republic, whether it come from a millionaire banker or the simple person on the street.

          1. Brian

            No, as I would rather not bet on something so morbid. My point though is that if we turn this into a witch hunt then what room is there for complaint if that hunt turns against you? What this thinking leads to is that one is not so much opposed to police brutality or civil liberties being infringed upon, but who it’s being directed at. I have no love or sympathy for the “bankers”, but if we don’t protect their rights, we won’t be able to protect our own, and in this sense: the guilty and the innocent are intertwined.

          2. mac

            Somewhere along the line over the last 50 odd years the notion that out System will find and deal with the guilty and the innocent will live happily ever after got lost.
            A nice fairy tale now so “innocent until proven guilty” may be a tale we(we older folks) tell the young-uns

          3. alex

            “Somewhere along the line over the last 50 odd years …”

            38 years tops. They weren’t afraid to go after the president himself then (and I mean for crimes, not politically embarrassing dalliances).

        1. alex


          Give it a rest. Speculation, even to the point of conspiracy theories, is not a “witch hunt”. No one here is suggesting that someone be chosen for summary execution, or that the proper routes of criminal investigation and trial be bypassed.

          1. Brian

            “The intimidation of *death guaranteed*, perhaps with torture beforehand, is powerful. The 1% don’t kid around.”

            Given the context and the quote above, tell me: how do you interpret it? Or do you only have the rose colored glasses on when it’s “one of your own”?

          2. LeonovaBalletRusse

            I am not the judge or the jury, I am *speculating*, a time-honored tradition, especially in *financial* circles. I have not accused any particular person or persons with this crime. But, the timing of Lawrence’s death, and the statement that the cops cannot give *the cause of death* immediately fits into a well-known pattern of behavior by organized criminals who *send messages* to those who impugn their *superiors*.

            Given the history of accounting control fraud and other rampant fraud–criminal fraud–perpetrated against We the People, how can you question the possibility that this was a *hit*? “If it looks like a duck, talks like a duck, walks like a duck, it’s likely a duck.”

            I perceive that you are not prepared to die for the cause of Constitutional Law and our release from Tyranny in America. You may even be on the payroll of someone *important*. This has happened in history.

          3. alex

            “The 1% don’t kid around.”

            “Given the context and the quote above, tell me: how do you interpret it?”

            That the poster has narrowed it down to 3 million suspects.

          4. Brian


            Great to see that you’re keeping the tradition of ad hominen attacks alive on this site.

            Let me apologize then for attempting to issue some caution and interject some reason. Of course it was a hit, what else could it be? I mean, you’re privy to so much evidence.

            I never discounted a “hit” nor made any claim as what the cause of death is: I challenged the reasoning process in making implicit and explicit claims.

            Um, however, isn’t it counter productive to make a hit in order to send a “message” by covering up the hit, that is, it hides the message? Usually when one sends a message of this kind, it’s made very clear that there’s a message and so therefore it’s not open to interpretation by those it’s supposed to be aimed at. However, it may very well be the case that there was foul play, but as is you have o evidence to draw any such conclusion.

            Is it really that difficult to suspend judgement until more evidence comes in?

          5. EH

            Usually when one sends a message of this kind, it’s made very clear that there’s a message and so therefore it’s not open to interpretation by those it’s supposed to be aimed at.

            Also, Brian, when throwing around Latinate fallacies, do take care to stow away all strawmen and true scotsmen.

          6. Brian


            What pray tell are you talking about? I made reference to the content of a post and challenged the content presented and how it was presented: isn’t that how a discussion of this sort if suppose to take?

        2. Karl Rove's Brian

          Gosh Brian, you’re such a “responsible voice of reason” and I, who saw a suspiciously timed death in a case that could nullify billions of dollars of property in a state known for a history of underworld murder and crime and corruption–I saw all of that and I, fool that I am, thought, “H’m, this looks like foul play.” Little did I know that in doing so, little old me, in this comments section, was actually responsible for overthrowing democracy, and that I was doing the equivalent of witch-hunting, which led to the deaths of perhaps millions of women and terrorizing untold millions more. Merely by speculating from evidence the obvious conclusion that there was foul play. Thanks to you, Brian, I know that the responsible thing to do is not to speculate whatsoever, to keep our mouths shut and wait for the authorities to tell us what to think. That’s how a real democracy works. That’s what worked best in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq–not irresponsibly suspecting the administration of lying; and by not casting too much irresponsible suspicion on the TARP bailouts, we served democracy well there too. Of course, to raise suspicions on a blog about anything fishy is the very opposite of what happens in a functioning democracy. In Saudi Arabia or North Korea, for example, that’s all they do–raise suspicions over people’s deaths–and look what they have! No functioning democracy whatsoever. All because some commenters on blogs couldn’t behave as responsibly as Brian.

          Hey Brian, hope you get paid for this sort of work. If not, you are one sad soul.

          1. Brian

            Oh yes, of course I must work for the “banksters” because I didn’t blindly follow the herd here and bellow “murder, murder, murder” before more evidence was presented (they’ve just found the person).

            Good job in presenting an either/or mentality–I’m sure it will go far in your cause.

          2. Karl Rove's Contrariantard Brian

            God I admire you, and all the Randroids who dare go against the herd. It really takes guts. Not brains, in fact no brains at all. But guts. Guts ‘n’ glory. How do you do it? Not go with the herd I mean. For example, if the herd here all agreed that the financial crisis was caused by criminal fraud, and I declared that saying such a thing was nothing more than a “witch-hunt” and that Ockham’s Razor’s dictates that the financial crisis was caused by a once-in-a-lifetime unforeseeable event, would that make me a noble member of the not-herd too?

          3. PL

            C’mon folks, let’s take it down a notch. There’s room for differing opinions here because last thing we’d want is an echo chamber, right? I say this as one in the “gee this looks mighty suspicious” camp but recognize the “no rush to judgment” folks make a valid point. No one knows for sure what happened to Tracy Lawrence at this early stage…fair enough.

          4. dirtbagger

            Got to go with Brian on this one.

            Have any of the posters spent a lot of time in Vegas? If you lived there you have a bona fide reason every day to commit suicide. Maybe we should approach the case as a mercy killing.

          5. Elizabeth

            Sorry, I agree with Karl Rove’s Brian. Blow it up, big time. When the heck is it going to be OK to put a stop to no-brainer attacks on reasonable people–especially from anonymous bloggers–charging that one is a conspiracy theorist for simply putting a couple of facts together and saying it smells? Good job. Great rant. I give it 10 points and a date with Ann Coulter where you get to beat her to a pulp. Enough already. Let’s wage all-out war on pop-stupid defenses everywhere: “Free markets,” “socialism,” “conspiracy theorists,” “big government,” and other lies of the brainless that act as magic words without the trouble of factual backup. . . . Or, how about: A country of people who even entertain such empty idolatry for a second richly deserve their fate of living in the airy-fairy fascist Disneyland that it is becoming. . . . Oh, how impolite, impolitic to say so! Have I forgotten my manners? Forgive me. And what will Mr. Himmler be having to drink this evening?

        3. wendy davis

          What makes you think it might not have been suicide? Some people consider themselves unable to face jail or prison.

          1. CaitlinO

            Moreover, there are still big swaths of American society where a criminal conviction/settlement, even if accompanied by a slap on the wrist penalty, is considered unbearably shaming.

            We’re not all Angelo Mozillos and Henry Blodgets, marching on shamelessly with our loot after doing serious wrong.

        4. avg cityzen

          you don’t know, but if one is investigating the mystery of her death, knowing she was a whistleblower for the two who got indicted, that’s very powerful motivation for murder. Can’t ignore that if you’re honest.

      1. R Foreman

        Be interesting if the Nevada AG had the foresight to order camera surveilance of Tracy Lawrence’s home. This would lead to even more damning convictions.

        Time for the cops to do some real police work.

        .. and the message now to all who robosign or might consider this type of work, your options will be dozens of years in prison or a quick death.

        1. EH

          Nah. Even though the stories yesterday said that they wouldn’t know the cause of death for “weeks,” we now know it was a suicide. They found pills in her home!

    2. different clue

      One hopes the autopsist, toxicologists, etc.; are very professional and very thorough and very skilled in searching for evidence of strange diseases and exotic poisons and so forth. A perfunctory “no bullet holes? natural death from irrelevant causes!” simply won’t do.
      “Heart attack”? What drugs can be used to create heart attack? “Heart stoppage other than attack”? What drugs can be used to create that? etc. etc.

  1. scraping_by

    Yves ?

    this is a serious fail.

    She was going to get a powder puff sentence and knew the higher ups. She was going to put people higher up in the picture. Now, she won’t.

    It may sound paranoid, fantastic, absurd, uninformed, but look at the last ten years. How much craziness has turned out to be true? You just have to think these people are like that.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I know, this is scary. I got the original report, and knew I recognized her name, but didn’t make the connection. The MSM reports didn’t mention her role in the state AG Masto case. She was probably going to get a light if any sentence since she had cooperated.

      This really looks like a hit (I didn’t want to say that in the post, but I know three people in the foreclosure space who are doing cutting edge legal theories and have gotten death threats). And if you saw Michael Clayton, they can be done with scary efficiency.

      If this theory is right, this is meant to send a signal to the two facing 30 year sentences not to roll. Masto is going to have to give them 24/7 protection for quite a while to have any hope of getting them to cooperate.

      1. Ishmael

        Thirty some odd years ago I was in Las Vegas during the sheriff election and one of they guys running for sheriff said if Jesus came back to earth and raised the dead they would have to put traffic lights in the desert around Las Vegas.

        I have known two people who had gambling debts and started having problems paying and both committed suicide. Interestingly both did it the same way. Plastic bag over their head. Being a licensed scuba diver I can only think of a few more painful ways of dying than asphyxiation. Just don’t know if anyone could do it that way. Really wonder if someone could kill themselves that way.

      2. Brian

        How do you derive, on any reasonable scale, that this “looks like a hit” from an article that’s scarcely ten lines in length? Not only that, but the authorities on the scene commented that foul play did not look like a cause.

        Let me qualify: I’m not saying that it may not turn out to be foul play, or that intimidation and “hits” don’t happen (as they most certainly do, and quite frequently), or that the police don’t cover up events or are just mistaken; but, be that as it may, would it not be wise to exercise caution in making conclusions?

        If we hope to have the rule of law enforced and have civil liberties respected and protected then it has to start with us, that is, we are assuming guilt first until proven innocent–instead of it being an individual it is a class of people that the guilt is heaped upon. Don’t misunderstand me here, I believe many CEOs should be doing 20yr sentences, but let’s exercise caution and not let this become a witch hunt, or else there will be little room for complaint if that hunt happens to deem you a witch.

        1. Ishmael

          Mine was more a comment on Las Vegas than anything else. However, the story about the plastic bag over the head is true. The first time I heard that someone did that and why I thought wow that is a terrible way to exit. Then 6 months later someone else told me the same facts about someone else. Both ruled as suicide. I thought as they say in the UK, RIGHT!

          1. Brian

            My response was directed at Yves Smith. As is, I don’t doubt that this goes on, and quite frequently. And as can be seen from the mounting comments below the main post, she’s lead many others to make hasty generalities and accusations (not that these people weren’t predisposed to it); but this makes her just as guilty as the mainstream press when they try to persuade people through hasty conclusions through fallacious reasoning, and hide it by not making explicit conclusions, but simply through implication.

          2. tom allen

            Well, you know, there wouldn’t be all this rampant speculation if the Administration were a bit more … what’s the word? … TRANSPARENT. We really can’t do more than speculate when all the real documentation is hidden by claims of security, whether financial or physical. So, maybe the government could release some documents? Just sayin’.

            I suppose I could make this case to some ally in government now, like, oh, Barney Frank?


            Riight, that’s going to work this time too, I’ll bet. :-( Arguing with Congressman Frank is kind of like arguing with a waiter who knows what the table wants to order, trust him, he knows best.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Did you see Michael Clayton? That show how someone can be killed without the crime scene showing any signs of struggle or any trauma on the body. Those are the signs of “foul play” local cops look for. That movie is just one illustration of how it can be done.

          The person was 43 years old. 43 year olds are not in the habit of dropping dead the day of sentencing. She (I assume a she, but Tracy can be either gender) was presumably going to get a minimal if any sentence for cooperating with the AG. The prosecutor presumably recommended no or a very light sentence. So there would be NO reason for a suicide.

          And people HAVE been getting death threats and more. One attorney I know had a black SUV with six men in black enter his home when he was out to dinner. Vigilant neighbors called the cops. They didn’t take anything, hadn’t damaged the house. Refused to answer questions. This is simply not a normal crime pattern in that suburb, not even close. Cops had never seen anything like it. So you tell me.

          And I did NOT reach a conclusion. I said “looks like a hit.” And I quite deliberately put that outside the main post.

          Please do some reasoning and careful reading before shooting. You are hardly one to make accusations of “hasty accusations and faulty reasoning” when no accusation was made and you offered no explanation of your own.

          1. readerOfTeaLeaves

            In addition, the movie Michael Clayton shows **private** ‘investigators’ listening in on phone conversations and taping the phone chatter of the person they later murder.

            Read again in the post: Masto charged *two*people with over 600 fraudulent activities. They are only the tiniest tip of the iceberg. Anyone who fails to see the chilling effect of a suddenly-dead-out-of-the-blue 43 year old is a moron.

            This almost looks like a ‘denouement’ of sorts.
            Someone(s) willing to risk the suspicious appearance of a dead 43-year-old in order to send out a ‘message’. That in itself is ‘interesting’ information.

            Many of us on blogs and over coffee have been saying for years now that there has been something criminal going on. Now, suddenly, charges are filed and a dead body turns up. This does not happen when people are merely being ‘incompetent’.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            I’ve spoken to one of the attorneys who knows the case. Tracy was going to get a suspended sentence. The deal had been agreed in advance. There was no reason for a suicide.

          3. Brian

            Do some “reasoning”? You employed a Hollywood movie as some form of evidence?! Having a character perform an act in a fictional work is much easier to do than in reality. Yes, deaths can be made to look like accidents, however, your argument is playing “god in the gaps”.

            And besides the point, if the shadow killers wanted to send a message they usually don’t send ambiguous ones as it would defeat the purpose of sending a message as to what to do and not do, that is, why wouldn’t they make it look like an obvious hit so all the other cronies out there get the message? That’s what’s typically done. In some cases it may not be done so obviously, but in that case they’re not trying to send a message but solely cover up. And yes, IF it were foul play then it could simply be one person who she would implicate. The point is, all sorts of scenarios can be made up, however, you’ve ruled out natural causes without having any evidence to do so except on the flimsy notion that she was 43 years old.

            As I stated, I agree that these things happen and happen quite often, however, why not simply use real proven examples as opposed to conjecture?

            And yes, you don’t explicitly make the derivation, instead you imply it–and isn’t this the same tactic you rightly criticize others for doing? You could have put a disclaimer in your post attempting to deter this hasty implication, but instead you did the very opposite! You stated: “this puts a very different complexion on things.” Then, of course, as you can see by the comments below your post, it lead to wild speculation, and in many cases, posters didn’t even bother to speculate but accuse–and I see you didn’t do much to warn people of drawing more cautious conclusions. It may very well be the case that foul play was involved; but I can’t possibly see how you could reasonably say “it looks like a hit” or imply it when you haven’t been to the scene, you have a vague ten lined article, and you have no knowledge of the individual’s health.

            As I have said, I agree that these things do go on, and that everything should be done to prevent such things, but this shouldn’t cause us to now start making wild speculations as in the end it can only hurt credibility.

            My question is, then, what if it turns out that she died of natural causes? Again, it may be shown that foul play was involved, but correlation and coincidence are not causation, and in this particular case I just don’t see how you’re not guilty of what you show others (particularly main stream media) as doing: guiding readers to a hasty and unwarranted conclusion by implication?

          4. Brian

            And a lack of a counter explanation is not PROOF of an explanation! Seriously! Ok, here’s a counter explanation: she died of natural causes. How can you disprove that? I can provide evidence of people in their 40’s dying of natural causes, and I can provide many of them.

            Yes, this entire situation of threats and intimidation is serious and should be treated with the utmost respect for those being intimidated, however, that doesn’t mean that we should then resort to poor thinking; and for the most part I’m on your side.

            As we are all human, sometimes our emotions get the best of us: I don’t see why we shouldn’t hold each other to account, after all, is that not the purpose of discussion? Or do you want simple affirmation?

          5. Crazy Horse

            So how did the vote today on Senate Bill # 1867 turn out? Perhaps is was a hit, but now perfectly within the President’s legfal authority?

            “The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during last night’s Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.

            The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday.”

            Credit Fire Dog Lake via the ACLU

          6. Crazy Horse

            WASHINGTON — The Senate voted Tuesday to keep a controversial provision to let the military detain terrorism suspects on U.S. soil and hold them indefinitely without trial — prompting White House officials to reissue a veto threat.

            The measure, part of the massive National Defense Authorization Act, was also opposed by civil libertarians on the left and right. But 16 Democrats and an independent joined with Republicans to defeat an amendment by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) that would have killed the provision, voting it down with 61 against, and 37 for it.

            “I’m very, very, concerned about having U.S. citizens sent to Guantanamo Bay for indefinite detention,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), one of the Senate’s most conservative members.

            Rand’s top complaint is that a terrorism suspect would get just one hearing where the military could assert that the person is a suspected terrorist — and then they could be locked up for life, without ever formally being charged. The only safety valve is a waiver from the secretary of defense.

            “It’s not enough just to be alleged to be a terrorist,” Paul said, echoing the views of the American Civil Liberties Union. “That’s part of what due process is — deciding, are you a terrorist? I think it’s important that we not allow U.S. citizens to be taken.”

            Democrats who were also concerned about liberties compared the military policing of Americans to the detention of Americans in internment camps during World War II.

            “Congress is essentially authorizing the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens, without charge,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who offered another amendment — which has not yet gotten a vote — that she said would correct the problem. “We are not a nation that locks up its citizens without charge.”

            Backers of military detention of Americans — a measure crafted by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) — came out swinging against Udall’s amendment on the Senate floor earlier Tuesday.

            “The enemy is all over the world. Here at home. And when people take up arms against the United States and [are] captured within the United States, why should we not be able to use our military and intelligence community to question that person as to what they know about enemy activity?” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said.

            “They should not be read their Miranda Rights. They should not be given a lawyer,” Graham said. “They should be held humanely in military custody and interrogated about why they joined al Qaeda and what they were going to do to all of us.”

            In criticizing the measure, White House officials said that it would cause confusion and interfere with a counterterrorism effort that has been remarkably successful since Sept. 11, 2001 — across two administrations.

          7. Yves Smith Post author


            It is quite intriguing to watch how you distort what I said. I used Michael Clayton as in ILLUSTRATION. That was because many readers would presumably have seen it. It is also more vivid than having me recount stories from a buddy who set up the Dun & Bradstreet operation in Moscow in the early 1990s and is probably the only person to sue a Russian oil company, win the case, collect the money, and remain alive to tell the tale. She had an ex KGB driver who had lots of stories as to how people got killed, and the protocols for professional hits.

            I figured Michael Clayton would resonate with readers more than long stories from Moscow. The movie does illustrate some basic points:

            1. You can overpower someone via getting them to breathe an anesthetic

            2. Toxins can be injected between the toes, the way addicts do who don’t want the needle tracks to be seen.

            Now as to the options re toxins, I leave speculation on that front to the readers of mystery novels and viewers of various crime scene TV shows.

            The point was simply to ILLUSTRATE that someone CAN be killed without any signs of foul play. That’s what I said earlier.

            And note you’ve been straw manning from the get go. I NEVER said she WAS killed professionally, but given the big stakes here (US News is reporting her testimony has stopped foreclosures cold in Nevada, and if the LPS employees roll the higher-ups, the chain goes straight to the big bank servicing departments) and the lack of ready explanation for her death, it is plenty plausible.

            I don’t see why you find that so hard to grasp.

          8. Brian

            Yves Smith,

            Um, they look for the things you mentioned in an autopsy, such as needle marks, bruising, etc. One hasn’t even been conducted; and besides that you’ve already ruled out any natural death by claiming: well, there’s ways of killing people that no one can detect. How is one supposed to prove nonexistence?

            I don’t see what’s so unreasonable in saying that maybe we should reserve judgement; however, instead you go from making a hasty conclusion in the initial post (albeit somewhat implied) to an out right poorly constructed defense of it–at what point does some reason kick in? Seriously, all I was advising and pointing out was that the conclusion was poorly drawn and that judgement should be reserved? And I’m the crazy one?! Or the one who doesn’t get it? And using past examples at best would be using inductive reasoning, but we need to do better than that when proclaiming and potential accusing someone or a group of murder.

            As I have admitted, I agree that these things do happen, but how do you know that that is what happened in this case? You don’t other than some loose inferences. It may be that you are proven correct, but let’s exercise some caution before deriving serious conclusions.

            I must admit that I’m finding the group here, at least the vocal ones, just as disturbing as the “banksters” whereas the only difference is one of power, but not necessarily intent. It may very well be that absolute power corrupts absolutely, but it just as likely that lack of power corrupts just the same. This is only an observation I am making as one looking from the outside.

            Seriously, you really think that you have exercised good reasoning in what you have presented here? Many times you have done great analytical work, but here I suspect your emotions are getting the better of you, which is perfectly understandable given your personal involvement; however, at some point it might be prudent to get some control over what and how you are presenting items least you undermine the very thing you claim to purport.

            What I have found here is that some are not as opened minded as they may think they are.

          9. Brian

            Yves Smith,

            And yes, I agree, foul play is plausible, and if I were an investigator given the circumstances that would be my first assumption to rule out. However, all I was pointing out was the reasoning behind what you were implying and explicitly saying, and if you may read over some of the comments to your post with some objectivity, you’ve literally have led many to proclaim murder and guilt before any investigation has been conducted, and on some shaky inferences: is this really what you hope to accomplish? Rouse up the mob before an investigation and more evidence is produced?

          10. Glenn Condell

            ‘One attorney I know had a black SUV with six men in black enter his home when he was out to dinner’

            Quoting myself from October 14 links thread:

            ‘I read a while ago that the NSA and/or the CIA had approved their agents finding employment on Wall St to supplement their measly incomes. I wonder how widespread this is, and whether it might be contributing to the deafening silence from the agencies as their Rome burns before them. Maybe they got theirs, bought off like everyone else with a henhouse. The Duke Cunningham/Abramoff capers and the Kyle Foggo affair perhaps afford an insight into this particular sellout of American governance to the class that controls it.’

          11. Yves Smith Post author


            Please. I’ve led many? Rounding up a mob? You are really stretching here, and also are sounding plenty paranoid. Are you a mind reader? You have this funny way of accusing others of the sort of behavior (going beyond evidence, when I have in fact not done so, and making extreme charges) when you do it pretty freely yourself. Google “projection.” You look to be a textbook case.

            It’s every bit as likely they came to more dire conclusions independently and therefore decided to defend me in comments.

            And for starters, 35 years ago in front of the Church Committee CIA head Colby described a poison dart gun that leaves no trace.



            If they can do that with 35 year old technology, imagine what is possible now.

          12. Brian

            Yves Smith,

            Then tell me how one can rule that foul play was or was not the case when the catalyst is by definition undetectable? Again, how could one prove non existence? For example, it’s the same thing in religious debates: how can one disprove God’s existence? Even if an autopsy is performed and rules out foul play one can always postulate an undetectable catalyst. Also, it is a strategy for agencies to also have people believe that there are undetectable ways of murdering someone in the hopes of inspiring fear, that is, anyone who dies at any time: “how do you know they weren’t offed?” This is a psychological tool that is employed quite often–not that I am claiming that that was the tactic in the link you provided. That being said, never was there any mention of the chemical make up of what this undetectable toxin consisted of, and that doesn’t sit well with me as convincing (again, I’m not saying that an impossibly to detect toxin doesn’t exist, but I need more than claims, and that boils down to the science of the said process–the CIA agent used the word “potentially unperceived”).

            However, this is besides the point as I have neither challenged the notion that people are threatened and murdered, or that it’s either covered up or concealed, or impeded (I can attest for this myself as a close acquaintance of mine worked the Vince Foster case back in ’93–and all I would be willing to say is that the investigation wasn’t conducted very well, and it was implied that a thorough investigation wouldn’t be tolerated). Nor have I contended that foul play wasn’t involved or argued that it was natural causes, only that we don’t know.

            What I have challenged was only deriving a particular conclusion in this particular case, and nothing beyond that. Basically, I simply asked: how do you know that? And maybe some are jumping to conclusions prematurely in a serious accusation such as murder–I can’t say whether you see any danger in this, but I do, as now you have people claiming, oh the 1%ers did it. They start saying this because you led them to by implication (which I’m not saying was intentional, but look carefully at some of the responses). Yet, it’s being claimed that I’m the unreasonable one because I’m not screaming that it’s obviously murder before solid evidence has been presented; or from some others here that I must be some “bankster” crony or 1%er simply because I claimed that we should wait for more evidence before even implying murder, because the next step in thinking becomes guilty until proven innocent (which I would possibly contend is becoming the case more and more in America, and possibly always has been for the poor and minorities).

            If I were the investigator I would probably suspect foul play first, however, none of us here are the investigator or even, as of yet, have had any access to the evidence.

            Be that as it may, this just seems to be going around in circles and appears more and more to be a waste of both of our time: so I acquiesce.

          13. Frank Powers


            I totally agree with your reasoning in this case. NC is an interesting place at times, but, disappointingly, it is not always a sane place.

          14. Elizabeth

            I’m not going to base my opinion on a movie. That’s fictional. Hello.

            But yes, it “looks like a hit.” Sure does. I’m willing to go out on a limb like that. I don’t KNOW it’s a hit, but it sure does “look like” one so far.

            If it turns out it wasn’t, then what’s the big deal? This will be proved, one way or another, in the end. I hope . . .

            Truly shocking news about the attorneys Yves knows receiving death threats and suspicious visits to their homes. I’m more alarmed at that than the possibility that a few people might hyperventilate about so-far unproved accusations.

        3. stock

          Bully on that, it could be unattended death, but come on dude, the motive and ability (boatloads of money) of the higher ups involved in one of the biggest crimes in history, and she was the whistle-blower. Just saying, to not suspect AND turn attention on those with possible motive to snuff her would just be incredibly stupid. No witch hunt involved. Massive fraud, whistle blower, trial, death….then comes investigation, digging, and death penalty for those trying to cover up crimes against humanity with a murder.

          No we don’t know, and no we should not restrict our thinking to just one avenue, but come on dude…what could be more obvious? And maybe too obvious, but the rich and powerful protect their power and privilege with ANYTHING–like any cornered animal.

          1. Brian

            since it’s so obvious to you, then let’s move to the next step: who would you like to hang for it? Please, don’t let a lack of evidence and paper liberties get in your way, just name your favorite unfavorite “rich and powerful” and you can demonstrate to others how swift and exacting true justice is.

            Ignorance, while it checks the enthusiasm of the sensible, in no way restrains the fool. However, I don’t expect a zealot or a mob to see themselves as such.

          2. Karl Rove's Brian

            Brian, if someone ever accuses you of “false equivalency” simply because you actually wrote this on your comment:

            “I must admit that I’m finding the group here, at least the vocal ones, just as disturbing as the “banksters” whereas the only difference is one of power, but not necessarily intent. It may very well be that absolute power corrupts absolutely, but it just as likely that lack of power corrupts just the same.”

            –If someone says that equating a blog commenter to a banker controlling tens of billions of dollars and government power is somehow “false equivalency” just remember Brian, as you yourself said, by accusing you of promoting cheap false equivalency, that person would be guilty of nothing less than witch-hunting and the destruction of democracy as we know it.

            …And now for something completely different, it’s “The Life Of Brian”!

          3. Karl Rove's Brian

            Hahah! Brian, you’re getting funnier by the minute! Now you’re riffing out aphorisms too? Like this beauty:

            “Ignorance, while it checks the enthusiasm of the sensible, in no way restrains the fool.”

            Ignorance doesn’t restrain the fool. That’s so deep, it really hurts, you know? I guess what you’re saying is…commenters like me are ignorant–and foolish. And all I’m doing is checking the enthusiasm of the sensible–which must be you, Brian.
            Oh. My. God. I see your point. I am so embarrassed. What could have possibly come over us? We should never have speculated that this mysteriously timed death was anything but a sensible death, as sensible as a Brian aphorism.

          4. Carla

            Brian thinks the readers of Naked Capitalism are “an unruly mob.”

            That says more about Brian than it does about Yves Smith or anyone else here.

        4. Francois T

          “How do you derive, on any reasonable scale, that this “looks like a hit” from an article that’s scarcely ten lines in length?”

          By the same logic that states it is not necessary to eat a whole meal to know if the chef is an horrible cook or not.

          Educate yourself on the MASSIVE scale of the LPS and compadres control fraud. (See William K. Black writings about that) Then, proceed to examine how pissed off some judges (Hon. Jed Rakoff comes to mind) are starting to be with the financiers and their extreme arrogance toward the law.

          Then, mix the above with the potential sentences (30 years each just for the two dudes this lady testimony could’ve meant) and Oh! Surprise! Surprise! 2+2+2 may equal 6 after all.

        5. leapfrog

          Why are you so much more concerned about bankster’s rights? Do you know how many rights of individual homeowners have been trampled in the massive foreclosure fraud? Inquiring minds would like to know…

      3. Jill

        I would not discount a hit. The UN Raconteur on Torture has been unable to see Bradley Manning alone. His lawyer has been unable to procure information the prosecution is bound by law to disclose. IMO, Bradley Manning has been held in conditions of torture and unlawful detention because he is being used as an example of what happens to people who may be whistle blowers. This may be taking it to the next step.


      4. PL

        This is concerning on so many levels. Are the other notaries in the Nevada LPS case under protection, just in case?

  2. Westcoastliberal

    C’mon guys, haven’t we heard this tune before? She caught “whistleblower disease”. Common as a cold and only costs $5K.

    1. Anon

      A death, especially an unexpected one, always has interesting legal effects.

      So it depends, I suppose, on what happens to the cases of the two LPS forgers that Lawrence’s testimony had put before the courts – does the attempt at prosecution die now, with the whistleblower?

      Recall what happened when Ken Lay died – between his convictions for fraud and sentence being handed down.

      Lay’s entire roster of convictions was vacated as a result – with the effect that his estate, worth $$$, could no longer be sued for restitution, even through the civil courts.

  3. QQQO

    the more the foot soliders of foreclosure abuses start to face real costs, meaning jail time, the harder it will become to perpetrate these sorts of frauds

    I think you are underestimating what people who have been out of work for 4 years are willing to do.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Was Obama elected while a resident of Chicago?
      Was his *Rahm* a “dead fish” specialist?

      Remember “Continental Illinois” – the Continental Bank of Illinois of Chicago? It’s right there, in the book by David A. Yallop: “IN GOD’S NAME: An Investigation Into the Murder of Pope John Paul I” (New York, Bantam Books, 1984. Connect with Mark Singer’s “FUNNY MONEY” and connect the dots to the Bush Dynasty (Silverado, Enron, 9/11 for PNAC and “Wars on Terre”, TARP)for the Global Fourth Reich.

      Did Abraham Lincoln and JFK move to free America from the clutches of a *Private Bank* for European Tyranny over We the People of the United States? Were they assassinated?

      Is there a connection between “Banco Nazionale del Lavoro” and Henry Kissinger? Does Kissinger and Associates profit from their cozy relationship with “Wars,” “Global Sports” the House of Saud, and the House of Rocquefeuille? Is Henry Kissinger a TRAITOR: a “Step&fetchit” for a Foreign Power?

      Monopoly Money for top dogs is VERY serious “business.” You got a problem with that? G.W. Bush now lives in Dallas, high on the hog, his job done. “Don’t mess with Texas” was Johnson’s message to a President who got out of line. The University of Dallas, is an Opus Dei stronghold.

      Bavarian *Hitler Jugend* Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI for the Holy Roman Reich IV, tipped his hand in the book by Plinio Correa de Oliveira: “NOBILITY and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII” (York, PA, The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), 1993), with Foreword by Morton C. Blackwell). York, PA is a *Defense* and *Security* stronghold. Ex-Ratzinger now is the *White Pope*, the face of Global Empire? Who is the *Black Pope* now? From whom does *Georgetown* get its orders?

      The death of Lawrence is undoubtedly a *hit*.

      1. QQQO

        I just want you to know I read the first couple sentences and stopped since it was immediately obvious what you were doing.

      2. casin

        Are you for real? What do you do for a living? WOW, hard to believe such contortions to say absolutely nothing!!!!

          1. Karl Rove's Contrariantard Brian

            Haha! Elmo is part of the Illuminati! That’s awesome! I remember Bill Kristol and the other Fox neocons using that same awesome joke back in 2003-4. You know, “Suggesting we knew that Saddam didn’t have WMD’s and that we lied in order to invade is just wacky conspiracy theory” or “just because there was a Downing Street Memo didn’t mean that they actually lied about the threat Saddam posed, that’s just crazy conspiracy theory talk”. Or “suggesting that somehow the bankers used the bailouts to enrich themselves is just crazy conspiracy theory talk.” Keep using the Elmo Illuminati analogy, it should hopefully scare these people into shutting up and not speculating about anything anymore, because they’d be to scared of looking foolish, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past 10 years of wars and financial collapse, it’s that the worst thing of all is to dare to look foolish. Better just to stick with Ockham’s leeches.

      3. Elizabeth

        Well, I don’t know if I’d say “undoubtedly a hit,” but “looks like a hit” sounds reasonable. And by the way, I know family members of Pope John Paul I (his brother lived in the U.S.), and they’re pretty convinced that was a hit. I guess they’ve looked into a little more than I would, from a distance. More skin in the game.

    2. Glenn Condell

      ‘I think you are underestimating what people who have been out of work for 4 years are willing to do.’

      ‘Well I got a job and tried to put my money away
      But I got debts that no honest man can pay
      So I drew what I had from the Central Trust
      And I bought us two tickets on that Coast City bus…

      Now I been lookin’ for a job but it’s hard to find
      down here it’s just winners and losers and
      don’t get caught on the wrong side of that line
      Well I’m tired of comin’ out on the losin’ end
      So honey last night I met this guy and I’m gonna do a little favor for him…’

      Boss Springsteen, Atlantic City

  4. John

    “As sad as this is for Lawrence’s friend and family, the more the foot soliders of foreclosure abuses start to face real costs, meaning jail time, the harder it will become to perpetrate these sorts of frauds. That is the way the law is supposed to work, after all.”

    Are you serious? The “foot soldiers” are in no position to refuse. They need their jobs. It is the big shots, the higher-ups, the decision makers who need to be held accountable. That is how the law “should” work.

    1. alex

      She hadn’t been sentenced yet. She might have gotten a slap on the wrist (small fine, no jail) in exchange for cooperation. A misdemeanor on your record is not the end of the world.

  5. Chunga's Revenge

    Gimme 100 shares of “natural causes”. Occam’s Razor demands it. But please, don’t let my bet put a damper on the local enthusiasm for conspiracy theory mongering…

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Tell me exactly how many 43 year olds drop dead in their homes. apparently with no call to 911 or a friend (it was evidently the officers of the court that found Tracy). Per my discussion above, suicide (which statistically IS a far more common cause of death) does not seem likely, given that Tracy was a cooperating witness and would presumably get a minimal, if any, sentence.

      And what were you saying about Occam’s Razor? You need to apply it to the full fact set, not a cherry picked fact set.

      1. Siggy

        Your use of the Michael Clayton movie is very apt. Your qualifiers are very apt.

        This is a very unusual death, one can hope that it will be adequately investigated.

      1. Chunga's Revenge

        That Pope was locked in a cell on suspicion of conspiracy with an enemy of the royals he stayed with. It was cold in the prison, and he was fed awful after already being a scrawny and sickly kinda guy, and the jailed treatment was said to have killed him. Let me guess, you have a conspiracy theory for that one too?

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Correct ERROR above: “Pope John I” should be: “Pope John Paul I” — the subject of the book cited farther above, “IN GOD’S NAME: An Investigation Into the Murder of Pope John Paul I” by David A. Yallop (New York, Bantam, 1984, 1985), revealing connection to the Continental Bank of Illinois and the hanging of a certain personage under Blackfriar’s Bridge.

            An ERROR! “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa, …”

    2. alex

      ‘Gimme 100 shares of “natural causes”. Occam’s Razor demands it.’

      You’re misapplying Occam’s Razor.

      43 years old, just happens to drop dead on the day of her sentencing, a month after turning whistle blower? Sure, could be stress, bad heart, whatever. Suicide seems unlikely as most suicides don’t go to much trouble to disguise cause of death. But speculating on a hit doesn’t seem out-of-bounds either. We’re talking about criminal enterprises.

      1. Chunga's Revenge

        Grab a deck of playing cards and deal youself a bridge hand. Take note of the cars you got. Do you know that the odds of you getting dealt those cards to make that hand are 169,066,442 to 1? So, by your reasoning, at such long odds, it must be impossible?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Now you are being silly. I can just as easily argue that the odds of getting a hand of cards, given the fact set you gave us, are 100%. Try making a better use of statistics. Yours proves nothing.

          1. Chunga's Revenge

            Now you’re drifting. The odds of you getting 13 cards are 1:1. The odds of you getting a specific set of 13 cards are long like a mofo. After you examine the 13 cards dealt to you is not the time to decide that the odds of you getting those specific cards are so very long that there’s no way you could have got them without some sort of overarching conspiracy.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            You are specifically being dense. If you can’t see that, I’m not sure I can help you.

            Tell me exactly how dealing a specific hand in a bridge deal relates to this fact set? Did anyone call anything even remotely as specific as a particular array of 13 cards?

            Your analogy is spurious and silly.

        2. reslez

          A 43 year old female is roughly twice as likely to commit suicide as to be murdered. The CDC reports 1059 deaths from suicide in 2007 among 40-45 females compared to 456 homicides.

          The odds are not overwhelmingly against homicide, but you do need evidence to overwhelm the prior probability of suicide. Incarceration is, after all, a major risk factor for suicide.

          Of course there have been many, many prominent deaths of whistleblowers in recent days and it’s easy enough to expect the powerful would rely on our disbelief.

          1. Yves Smith Post author


            I acknowledged earlier that suicide is more common IN GENERAL than homicide. But we are no longer dealing in generalities.

            How many 43 year olds are key witnesses in pending criminal litigation involving people who are each facing 30 years in jail and are expected to roll, implicating far more important and powerful players?

            She is MUCH more analogous to a witness in a Mafia prosecution who has copped a plea (note she DID cop a plea, she got a suspended sentence on one count when she said she was guilty of tens of thousands of counts).

            Note I am still not saying that she was killed. I AM saying this is a reasonable suspicion.

            So the murder v. suicide rate on people who have 1. copped plea bargains in 2. major criminal investigation (Mafia, drug rings) are the closest analogies. You need to back off from that a bit, since the ultimate targets are in the business of knocking off people on a regular basis, but this is the better comparable than mere age based comparisons. Do you have the relevant stats on that? I suspect the skew is reversed.

          2. LeonovaBalletRusse

            reslez, OK, how about *forced suicide* in this case. Who’s to know after the fact? Is this not a time-honored tradition for *deliverance* from earthy life to those guilty of violating their oath of *omerta*?

      2. CaitlinO

        The first report I saw on this a few hours ago said that local police had ruled out homicide. It seems that this is often the initial report on suicides before the official coroner’s work is done.

        Just saying I wouldn’t rule out suicide just yet.

    3. Woody in Florida

      Well taking a very rough estimate of the odds of someone dying naturally on the day of sentencing would lead me to believe that the “Razor” would probably have to choose between suicide (which is not a very pleasant thought)or a professional hit (much more pleasant thought). As long as it is just an opinion, I am going with the hit. Not asking for a witch hunt but due diligence would be nice.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      As noted earlier in the thread, I’ve spoken to one of the attorneys who knows the case. Tracy was going to get a suspended sentence. The deal had been agreed in advance. There was no reason for a suicide.

      1. Jean

        “There was no reason for suicide” … the most common reason for suicide is acutely severe mental illness, and that cannot be ruled out. Impending inprisonment is not a requirement of suicide. More information and interviews, her lawyer, her family, her friends, are needed to draw even a speculative conclusion of “a hit”.

        1. tom allen

          Exactly, so … we should comfort her family and get more information on the case. Meanwhile let’s chill for a bit until we get those two things sorted out.

      2. Chunga's Revenge

        It was a speculative wager…nobody knows yet how she died. For all we know her husband said he was done with the stress of the relationship and intended to move on while she was cooling her heels, inspiring a pill suicide instead of going to court? Or maybe her heart mailed it in over the stress of being in the federal crosshairs? We just don’t know.

        So I took the pedestrian outlier that’s playing like a longshot hereabouts. The same kind of prediction worked for me when everyone was certain that Corey Haim was a drug suicide…turned out it wasn’t drugs that killed him…pneumonia. His toxicology report came back with drugs as “not a factor”. I won the bet. The stakes? Bragging rights with the mrs. We’ll see how this plays out…

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          About that “pneumonia” verdict: did you personally see the pneumonia evidence bearing the DNA of her lung tissue?

      3. Flying Kiwi

        You cannot claim “There was no reason for suicide” without an intimate knowledge of this person’ life and mental state.

        Being a whistleblower needs toughness – before you knew “all the facts”, Yves, you were implying that this person had taken their own life out of a sense of shame and/or a desire to avoid the “real costs” of their behavior. He/she may have been facing the consequences of their behaviour – whistleblowers can find it difficult to get jobs, lose friendships, can face anger and ostracism, may even receive threats from people who have no intention of ever carrying them out.

        So let’s be cautious before crying ‘conspiracy’. Yet the circumstances of this particular even do undoubtedly raise questions beyond the obvious. The only people able to provide answers are the LAPD. I hope they are up to asking them.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Were some here born yesterday, or just ignorant of history? Have these people heard of Meyer Lansky et al.? Do they think Castro was really against *American democracy*?

          1. Flying Kiwi

            Well I’m afraid I really have never heard of Meyer Lansky, which makes the ‘et al’ meaningless. Also I have no idea what Castro really thought of American democracy and I think only someone really close to him could really ever know.

            What I do know is that, as Einstein pointed out, “the difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits” and in this affair I am limited to the facts and as yet unanswered questions.

          2. Karl Rove's Brian (and Chunga's Brain)

            Wait, Kiwi who Flies, so you’re humbly suggesting that you’re a “genius” and an Einstein? And your proof is that you’re not the type who’d ever dare try to speculate from evidence, but rather, you wait until you’re told what to think? Yeah, that’s the definition of genius all right. I think Einstein got
            all of his ideas by waiting and waiting and waiting for the official “Okay” before coming up with his own ideas.

            Man, this Brian-Chunga-Kiwi troll really needs diversify the act a bit or else your PR firm will fire you for someone a little more clever.

          3. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Kiwi, you are so proud of your ignorance that you proclaim it to the world? Hit the books.

        2. JTFaraday

          “whistleblowers can find it difficult to get jobs, lose friendships, can face anger and ostracism, may even receive threats from people who have no intention of ever carrying them out.

          So let’s be cautious before crying ‘conspiracy’.”

          Well, to analogize. Because employers frequently don’t want their unemployment insurance to go up, employees are very frequently bullied into “voluntarily” resigning, rather than terminated outright.

          This doesn’t make it less of a “conspiracy,” it makes it more so. Being effective requires a whole cast of bullies and a whole array of bullying tactics.

          In case you’ve never witnessed it.

          But you’re right that any number of scenarios could have played out here, apart from a mob hit.

          So, if the coroner’s report comes in ruling out homicide, the investigation into her death should continue.

          And people are winning court cases when others have committed suicide as a result of intimidation:





          Most of the ones I know of are kids, but the last is a young adult, and court cases build legal precedents.

      1. Chunga's Revenge

        Maybe you can tell me how my pretend wager fails to line up with Occam’s razor (the principle of parsimony)? I think I’m on it, and that this is much like the time I had a student mulishly insist that “passive aggressive” meant something other than what it does.

        For what it’s worth, the cops are saying her death is not suspicious. Maybe this is a good time to watch the theatrical hitman action in that movie clip again…

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You’ve never provided any analysis. You merely keep yelling “Occam’s Razor” and “the cops have said they didn’t see anything suspicious.”

          You keep failing to factor in that she was a key witness in a pending criminal case. USA Today pins the foreclosure halt in Nevada to her testimony. She’s a linchpin and a mighty inconvenient one.

          You need to factor in all variables before reaching your conclusions.

          And I have not said she was killed. I have said it is not an unreasonable suspicion.

    5. Chunga's Revenge

      Now you’re anus jabbing? Such a sweetheart. So long as you’re wishing for new features, maybe you should throw in a personal pitch for a better sense of manners towards strangers in passing? Or does the relative anonymity of the W3 make you feel free to share the witty sphincter epithets you picked up at some land grant college or another? You boorish/nasty/rude fuckwit, you.

    6. wunsacon

      Don’t use “Occam’s Razor” as an excuse not to speculate.

      I know TPTB have smeared the words “speculate” and “conspiracy”. But, you should know better than that.

    7. Karl Rove's Brian

      Boy, usually the commenters here operate at a much higher level than over this story. Just try to detach your emotional hysteria for a moment and consider that this has no political significance, and you’re a private investigator, and it takes place in, say, Macau in the aftermath of a property crash. So you’re an investigator, and you have a dead whistleblower in a case in which the whistleblower’s testimony led to 606 criminal charges and the legal unraveling of billions of dollars worth of foreclosures. And on the day of the whistleblower’s reduced misdemeanor sentencing, she’s found mysteriously dead of unknown causes.

      Now, with nothing politically or emotionally at stake, you, the professional investigator are given these few facts, what do you suppose is the most professional and obvious initial hunch you’re going to go with?
      a) Foul play (given the obvious motive, suspicious timing, mysterious unknown cause of death and unlikelihood of coincidence)
      b) Your hunch is assume nothing strange whatsoever happened, and most of your time is spent sniffing around for anyone who thinks it suspiciously smells like foul play, and you troll-bark at them into submission, because that’s what makes a professional investigator professional (or corrupt?)

      Seriously, into an argument with Brian reminds me of all the time friends of mine used to waste arguing with fundamentalist Christians when we were in college. Let Brian say whatever his troll heart wants to, he’s got his own job to do and that’s fine, let him.

      The only comment more laughably deluded (or trollish) is the one who dropped the “Occum’s Razor” cliche. I remember that stupid meaningless “explanation” was popular among deluded apologists during the Dubya era, among goofballs trying to sound like they were still in control of reality by attributing everything to “Occum’s Razor” as if it meant something. Why not just say “Shit happens” as the explanation for everything disturbing that happens? At least it’s more honest (and less pretentious). What these Republican middlebrows are thinking when they use the “Occum’s Razor” cliche is, “You can’t handle the truth, unlike me, because I’m not afraid to attribute everything to Occum’s Razor!”

      By the way, “Occum’s Razor” doesn’t mean “the stupidest explanation is usually the right one,” it means, “The most self-evident explanation is usually right.” In this case– well seriously, does it have to be explained?

      1. Flying Kiwi

        Oh, for Christ’s sake, OCCAM’S razor holds that the SIMPLEST explanation is usually correct – and ‘simplest’ is NOT by any means the same as ‘self-evident’.

        In this case the simplest explanation is that the unfortunate woman took her own life.

        As Occam’s Razor usually produces the correct result the result of its application requires evidence to the contrary. In this particular case the surrounding circumstances suggest the simplest explanation might not be the right one but if Occam’s Razor is to be refuted REQUIRES EVIDENCE.

        1. Karl Rove's Brian (and Chunga's Brain)

          Occam’s Razor is a middlebrow cliche. Just say “On the theory of ‘Shit happens'” I don’t believe there’s anything here because I believe everything that happens happens as it happens.”

          You know, Occam’s Razor describes some knucklehead’s idea of what passed for “logic” back in the Middle Ages in England. You’re not only saying “Shit happens” but you’re saying it in Chaucerian English. Back in Occam’s time they also thought the world was flat (no evidence otherwise).

          So you go ahead and stick with your brilliant Middle Ages logic, you’d make a great investigative journalist (but an even better whitewasher!). Let the rest of us live in the 21st century, foolish though we may be for daring to do so.

          1. JTFaraday

            No, I can’t let that pass.

            Although I frequently call Occam’s philosophy “peasant logic” myself, because he disregarded the received philosophy of the Schools, Occam was a real philosopher who thought clearly about the way he himself perceived the world and who mowed down the “realist” imaginings of Plato’s theory of the forms, which was pretty much the whole philosophical scaffolding holding up the heavens in the Medieval world.

            This was a major philosophical achievement and could be called the founding moment of modernity. I would even go so far as to say that his nominalist philosophy only really came into its own in “post-modernity.”

            That said, in this case my peasant logic tells me that either the woman was driven to kill herself or someone else did it for her.

            Either option qualifies as “foul play,” which is the only thing the original post suggests.

            Context is everything.

          2. Larry Barber

            And they did not think the world was flat in Occam’s day. No educated person from at least the time of Pythagoras thought the Earth was flat. There is plenty of evidence available, even to a casual observer, that the Earth is roughly spherical. You don’t need a picture of the Earth shot from the moon to prove that.

            Occam’s razor is a valuable heuristic, but that is all it is, it is not a law of logic. Consider Descarte’s demon. Descarte speculated that there were only two entities in the universe, himself and a demon which was controlling all that he sensed. Since there are only two entities in this world, according to Occam this is the preferred explanation, but I don’t know anybody who seriously believes it, not even those who are otherwise quick to call on Occam.

        2. Karl Rove's Brian (and Chunga's Brain)

          Actually it’s “Ockham’s Razor” named after Friar William of Ockham of 14th century England– not, as you put it, “OCCAM’S RAZOR”. If you’re going to think 14th century, you really ought to learn to spell 14th century too, otherwise you really discredit your discredited 14th century thinking.

          1. JTFaraday

            Goes to show what you know. There are many variant spelling of Occam’s name, as there are many variant spellings of fellow Britisher William Tyndale, Tindall, Tyndall (even Hychyns, Hitchins) and more.

            The English language itself wasn’t consolidated and stabilized until the publication and dissemination of a series of English language bibles based significantly on the work of Tyndale provided a common touchstone (tychstone, etc) for the language, followed by a dramatic increase in literacy rates.

            Sorry to complicate your razor.

        3. Rex

          The simplest explanation, it seems, would be that a flock of trolls has descended on the blog to jump up and down and spew paragraph after paragraph of repetitive tripe.

          If it walks like a troll and talks like a troll, it may be time to take Occam’s razor and slit its throat.

      1. JTFaraday

        No, I can’t let that pass. As the original power/knowledge theorists, the Sophists were some of the sharpest knives in the drawer.

        They would certainly encourage us to consider the possibility that all we will ever know is whatever Critias wants us to know.

        And so it was.

  6. Darren Kenworthy

    The targets of many literal witch hunts in the high middle ages and early renissance were leaders of popular religious movements aimed at returning to the values of “primitive Christianity” in the face of increasing official chuch corruption and countenance of usury.

    Speculating in a guarded way about what lengths the powerful might go to to keep their power is appropriate and not at all similar to a “witch hunt”.

    1. Dikaios Logos

      FWIW, Jeffrey Tidus, a lawyer who had represented New Century (a rotten mortgage originator), was found shot in the back of the head in December 2009. The LA police were strangely interested in pursuing the idea of suicide in that case.

      Not sure this wasn’t a suicide, but do understand that even the police can be intimidated.

          1. Glenn Condell

            Why should the probity of police be assumed when they are currently engaged in violent and unlawful repression of citizens on behalf of the 1%? Who accept massive donations from members of the elite in order to further strengthen the ties that bind the state’s coercive force to the protection of moneyed interests? Who have been paramilitarised into cartoonish robot action doll figures that would be vastly amusing if they weren’t so worrying? Just look at the people who have in recent years been appointed to run some of the most important forces.

            If I was that woman’s family I would want a second opinion – a transparently public one which could be crosschecked by any independent expert with an internet connection.

            I keep wondering about events like Spitzer’s fall, the whacking of Sunny Sheu, now this. Hiding in plain sight is the force that powers these acts, whether atomised or co-ordinated I don’t know and I’m not sure which would be worse, or even whether the distinction matters. A centralised secret force (a la Cheney’s hit squad, but domestic) is bad enough but if it is only one node it is (a) vulnerable and (b) not indicative of a nationwide malaise. If however all these things happen independently, it does seem to show a national or cultural corruption of licit power, and you would assume what has been seen is the tip of the iceberg.

  7. Pitchfork

    Just to clarify, the police weren’t officially calling this a homicide, but the Metro Homicide Unit is, according to one report, investigating the woman’s death. Maybe they didn’t get the memo about not going on a “witch hunt.

  8. abprosper

    Do you trust the detectives? Considering its Nevada?

    I’d be leery of trusting the powerful or their servants (most police fall in where) with so much on the line, human life has no value. Heck given the consequences of a global economic collapse even decent people can be persuaded that murder is for the greater good.

  9. Bc

    Stinks to high heaven. Snuffing someone requires real connections. Someone quite powerful is worried if this was a hit. The prosecutor is the one getting this “message”. Thanks for posting.

  10. Stupendous Man - Defender of Liberty, Foe of Tyranny

    One thing not considered here in this discussion (surprisingly) is the amount of money in question – not the gal’s sentence, but in the massive fraud/s. It is many, many, many trillions of dollars. I’d say a number of options and possibilities should be considered.

    1. CaitlinO

      The various frauds have resulted in many trillions of dollars and involved tens of thousands of people, most of whom work/worked at low levels. The story has also been amazingly well documented by hundreds of reporters and bloggers, including Yves, even if the majority of the MSM seems determined to ignore it. Would anyone actually believe that the murder of a single notary could somehow stop the investigations, cover up the fraud, pour perfume over the stench?

      I mean there are screen shots all over the web of notarized mortgage assignments where the signer didn’t even sign! Where the signer used up to 20 completely different signatures, yes, Tywanna Thomas and Linda Green, I’m looking at you. And all of the different signatures from obviously different Tywannas and Lindas were duly notarized. You could probably populate a small city with notaries who have done exactly what this poor woman did – is this death, if deliberate, really supposed to shut up all the people involved in this?

      The genie’s out of that bottle and she ain’t going back. The full story will out eventually, stories have a habit of doing that, and her death isn’t going to stop that process. So what would be the point?

      1. ambrit

        My Dear Mz C;
        “-is this death, if deliberate, supposed to shut up..” Considering the outrageous arrogance of the people involved in the ‘alleged’ crimes in question, the short answer would be yes. Being a whistle blower, especially given the ‘Authorities’ obvious reluctance to uphold the laws in this case, is indeed a danger fraught enterprise.
        More interesting to me is the lackluster MSM response. Imagine something like this happening in a country with a ‘robust’ news media. Considering the history of the ‘Town That Bugsy Built,’ the coroners report, and the DISPOSITION OF THE BODY, will be telling. If the poor womans body gets quickly cremated, then I’m all in with the conspiracy buffs.

        1. CaitlinO

          I guess my thinking is also along the lines of the Michael Clayton analogy. It was worth the risk and effort to bump off Tom Wilkinson’s character because he was the only one who had evidence of the client’s wrongdoing and was ready to make it public. In that case, kill the witness, kill the evidence.

          That’s not even remotely the situation here.

          Ms. Lawrence was just one of ?thousands? of people who have been “notarizing the signature of a person not in [her] presence.” There is a virtual army of notaries and robosigners and ‘surrogate signers’ out there, any of whom can be found and turned. Is a single death going to change any of that? I just don’t see how.

          Finally, why is testimony even critical in a case like this? The physical evidence, fraudulently prepared and perjured documents, is public record in hundreds of thousands of cases in courts all around the country over the past 7 or 8 years. As Mr. Olenick points out in the companion piece, this is systemic, nation-wide, profitable and, very likely, on-going. Something this pervasive can not possibly be blamed on a few ‘rotten apple’ employees at the bottom of the organization. Her death does nothing to erase the overwhelming volume of physical evidence so, again, it just doesn’t make sense to me.

          Sorry, but I think wait and see is the best approach here.

  11. lloyd blankstein

    I am with Brian. Even if 10 unknown men in black holding guns in their hands were found to leave her house just before she died and large bullet holes were found in her head, I would believe that she died from natural cause. Move on Yves. We live in the freest country in the world, and anyone who thinks anything malicious can happen in this country is out of touch with reality.

      1. lloyd blankstein

        God bless you. Just finished reading “Dispatches from Weimar Republic” by Morgan Phillips Price (sorry no free pdf link). This book has letters written between 1919-1923 from Germany by a British journalist.

        Patriot rep? I committed something that can be considered sacrilege to this group. That link of ‘bubble that broke the world’ is from Mises institute.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          The Alabama Austrians must not have read it; if they had, I think they would have discarded it.

          I check many links, no matter the origin. Best to keep an open mind upon investigation, for you never know what you’ll find. The Garrett book is a case in point. It reveals a disconcerting continuity of *banker mindset* from Holy Roman Reich II to III to IV.

          It is important to know history.

  12. lloyd blankstein

    I am also going to ask everyone not to believe anything said about MF global’s losing customers’ money (600M or 1.5T, I lost track). Of course the customers are lying. Nothing is proven about their money not being returned.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Right, Brian wants proof: *innocent until proven guilty*. Good luck with that *proven guilty* part.

      As the *Detective* said, they “ruled out homicide.”

      Just like that! Now that’s *summary justice* we can believe in, right Brian?

      1. shekissesfrogs

        Last time I checked it was the coroner that would perform the autopsy, not the detective. What is your hurry to declare innocence in absence of evidence? It will be forthcoming within a few weeks,

        1. Jill


          You are correct. When a person dies alone their body is taken to the coroner for an autopsy. It is the coroner who gives the cause of death.

          I will engage in speculation.– Whenever you find a lot of troll traffic on a thread there is usually something that is worrying the authorities about the original story.

  13. gse

    As a friend of mine has often stated: Welcome to Orange County, CA–Home of the white collar criminal.

    …’title officers Gary Trafford, 49, of Irvine, Calif., and Geraldine Sheppard, 62, of Santa Ana, Calif.’; plus New Century, headquartered Irvine, Calif.

    And a special kind of hell it is…

  14. Bill

    Yves, I’ve seldom seen this much personal snark
    in a column here. I’d suggest the Comments section
    on this issue has been “mugged”, starting with
    Brian the self-righteous Truth Seeker…..you
    might want to keep and eye out for those participants
    you’re not familiar with here.

    BTW, an “acute psychiatric condition” that suddently
    appears at age 43 is very unlikely. Severe
    conditions that include psychosis or mania
    commonly appear first much younger — late teens or
    early 20s for schizophrenia, around 30 for bipolar.

    BTW, there is much that is hidden in our country
    lately that is permitted by the Patriot Act, and
    I am a victim of stalking and harassment as a result of it.

    This sounds more and more like this witness has been
    rubbed out, IMHO

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Thank you, Bill for your expertise. And thank you, Yves, for sharing your friend’s story about *How It Works* in Russia, with the amazing detail that she lived to tell the story. Organized crime is the same the world over, and our *brand* of organized crime is no exception.

  15. Operation Family Secrets

    Why is this Brian character so frantic to protect the constitutional rights of unknown people from the ruminative witch-hunts of disembodied voices on the Internet? Mob got your kid in a box underground, or what?

    1. Op Fam Secrets

      This is a job for Eric Holder, the guy who torpedoed RABFAM so he could rack up a single nolo contendere and a whoppin’ 3 years probation!

  16. MIWill

    First, we need to gentrify a sliver of formerly tin-foil-hat ghetto. Then we’ll be less likely to be mocked when we speak.

  17. Hugh

    We do not know the facts of this case. We may never. What can be said is what has been said that 43 year olds facing a suspended sentence do not suddenly die just before said sentencing.

    What we can also say is that kleptocrats have stolen from hundreds of millions of Americans. They have ruined the lives of tens of millions of them, and they are responsible for the deaths of millions from lack of healthcare as well as despair and neglect.

    So did they kill this woman? Who knows? They have murdered so many others in pursuit of their mindless looting. That is the real story. Kleptocrats kill people. They have killed so many already that do you really think that we can separate them from their ill-gotten gains without them resorting to murder and violence? I do not know if they killed this woman. I do know they will kill others because they already have.

  18. psychohistorian

    I consider Brian to be from the agnotology school of trollism.

    Are we sure, we are sure, we are sure, we are sure that smoking causes cancer? Tell us Brian what you think?

  19. Chunga's Revenge

    I must have missed the memo. When did this place develop such a contingent of fuzzy reasoning and way too aggressive louts bowing to conspiracy fodder and raging rudely at anyone who might be a counterparty to the daffy and facially flawed conspiracy theories they propose? After the flavor of interaction I’ve endured, I’m ready to double down on the no-foul-play-in-this-woman’s-death prediction. The belligerence I’ve seen is indicative of dealing with rubes intent on trying to will/bluff a badly flawed play good.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      1. You were the one who got aggressive first, or did you miss that? You were dismissive and offered no reasoning. Most of the rebuttals to your comment were factual and logical.

      2. You also seem not to have a copy of the libretto. Get a grip on what this case means and where it might go. It has the potential to get to the LPS software, which in turn would expose institutionalized fraud across the entire servicing complex (there is tons of evidence that points to that, but no one has the smoking gun). The stakes here are very high, which makes suspicion over the death of a critical witness PRE TRIAL (she was due to testify in the 606 criminal count trial or did you miss that part?) warranted.

      1. PL

        Point 2 is well taken. The stakes were exceptionally high which makes Lawrence’s death all the more suspicious. Aside from a ruling on the cause of death, let’s hope some admissible evidence from Lawrence exists so the prosecution may continue with the counts arising from her fraudulent notarizations against the title agents. Is there any precedent for grand jury testimony being submitted in a criminal trial under this type of circumstance??

    2. Karl Rove's Brian

      What a brilliant investigator you’d make.
      Chunga Holmes is presented with a case: A whistleblower found mysteriously dead on the day of her reduced sentencing hearing, in a case involving billions of dollars worth of property and hundreds of criminal counts–for starters.
      So, Watson, what does Chunga Holmes see here? Where does Chunga Holmes’ ingenious intuition lead to?
      Why, to the blog comments section, where evidence of blog comments taking one position must therefore mean that a death in Las Vegas must be the very opposite of offensive-toned blog comments. That’s where any rational, intelligent, genius investigator would look, my dear Watson! It’s called “contrarian thinking” and really, lots of people think that contrarians are really onto something big and smart.

      So, Chunga, one at least hopes you pick up a check from Hill & Knowlton for playing the “merchant of doubt” role.

    3. melior

      When did this place develop such a contingent of fuzzy reasoning and way too aggressive louts bowing to conspiracy fodder
      There ought to be an award for 11-dimensional trolling!
      See, now the very fact that Naked Capitalism *isn’t* a frothy conspiracy site is *further proof* that there’s nothing to see here just move along. And this after a lecture about Occam’s Razor. Checkmate, sir!

  20. lexicon

    The best antidote for American Exceptionalism is simply to pretend for a moment that we’re talking about Frangistan or East Blovolia. Suicide? Maybe the floral drapery finally got to her. Yeah, that’s it.

  21. BondsOfSteel

    The timing of her death is suspicious, and should be investigated as such. One of the casualties of the current crisis is the lost of faith and trust in our institutions.

    The best way to restore that trust is an open and active investigation. Personally, I would demand the feds join the investigation (including autopsy)… and that priority was given to the toxicology reports.

  22. indio007

    Motive what motive?

    25000 fraudclosures x $200,000 = $5,000,000,000

    Seriously, people get killed over $20 in some parts of the US.
    This is serious cheeze with the potential to be a lot more nation wide.

    CEO’s of large companies already have sociopathic tendencies. You think they are going to lose their lavish lifestyle over some nobody?
    I think not.

    In regards, to the police saying they rule out homicide. COPS CAN AND WILL LIE FOR THE PURPOSE OF HELPING AN INVESTIGATION.

    C’mon is it kindergarten around here?

  23. Tiger

    What you people are all forgetting (and I don’t have a link handy) is the series of 8 (i believe 8) mystery deaths relating to the BP spill. And another thing is: look at Kroll. This company works for corporations and for all kinds of 1% people and they have tons of employees who are former intelligence people from various countries. They can accomplish weird murders like this. It smells and it is scary. It’s the kind of thing that makes civil war incrementally more likely as the ultimate resolution of the crisis.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Ah, yes, the *Pale Rider*, Kroll. Tiger, have you investigated the mysterious deaths of witnesses to the *explosions* heard in conjunction with the *free-fall* of the Twin Towers, and of witnesses attesting other *strange* events connected with 9-11, the *compleat* day?

      Bush-BCCI-UnocalKarzai-AfPakISI-Opium-Missing$$-CIA-Bush connect John O’Neil-9/11-FBI-Mueller-Bush-Kroll-Anthrax

  24. citizendave

    Suicide is not necessarily a rational act. Of three family members who committed suicide, only one had an obvious reason to do so: chronic back pain. Of the other two, we have no idea why they did what they did. Neither tried to disguise it. Neither left a note. In the case we’re discussing here, a drug overdose would not be evident until toxicology tests are completed.

    Anyone who has spent a semester pondering the problem of epistemology knows how difficult it is to be able to say “I know”. Any fan of detective novels knows that the obvious answer can be a red herring. A clever plot can have the murder appear to be about one thing, when it turns out it’s really about something most people would never suspect. A guy I worked with, who was always in good health while we worked together, died at 34 of a brain aneurysm. It’s often very difficult to know what happened, or why it happened, or to predict that it would happen. Sometimes there is no way to know.

    Regardless of the facts of the matter, Karl Rove would be able to figure out a way to make the story work to his advantage.

    This story looks really bad. Maybe it is really bad. But even if it was bad luck natural, maybe some good will come out of it. It must have taken courage to do what she did. Her death should not be in vain, regardless of the reason. What is obviously widespread fraud should be prosecuted.

  25. MichaelC

    Suicide,Murder what’s the difference.

    A low level pawn is DEAD. Where is the justice in that?

    What a FUCKING horrible reality check.

    Mozillo goes free, and the is whether Michael Clayton is the appropriate metaphor.

    Not even one tear shed in comments.


    1. Karl Rove's Brian

      Yes, it’s all about the tears, and not about trying to make sense of this horrifying moment, horrifying for everyone. Thank god we have people like you to remind us that it’s all about the tears. For shame, everyone. MichaelC, just so you know, I felt your tear drop from your comment, and I wiped that tear with my own cursor.

  26. Pat

    Why should anybody be surprised that an eyewitness – especially an ordinary schnook – gets knocked off by the System?

    And that doesn’t include a host of JFK witnesses who “disappeared”, or Enron exectives who killed themselves. Or Gary Webb.
    Also, Sean Hoare, a whistleblower in the phone-hacking scandal in the UK turned up dead.
    Plus, Michael Connell, who probably knew more than anyone else about allegations that the republicans (Karl Rove) hacked the electronic voting machines in Ohio during the 2004 Presidential election and swung the vote in that state for George Bush. Connell, conveniently, was killed in a plane crash shortly before he was to give evidence.
    (In fact you could fill a small church with people who conveniently died in small plane crashes, eg Paul Wellstone, Sen. Mel Carnahan, JFK Jr, the senator in Alaska, etc.)

    Actually, it looks like this LPS Whistleblower probably wasn’t killed by a major player, more likely by somebody higher up in the LPS food chain who got cold feet.

  27. ErnestineBass

    If a mugger is willing to kill a little old lady for her Social Security check, just imagine what a felonious banker would be willing to do to protect millions in ill-gotten gains. A well-manifured thief in an Armani suit is still a thief.

    1. CaitlinO

      Her death isn’t going to protect anyone’s millions. There are way too many witnesses/participants to fraudclosure; there is way too much physical evidence in the public record.

      If someone was actually stupid enough to think that offing Ms. Lawrence would make the evidence and witnesses disappear, well, then that really is tragic.

      1. Karl Rove's Contrariantard Brian

        Right. There are so many witnesses to foreclosure fraud all over the country, that’s why we’ve seen so many high-level fraud prosecutions, right? Yeah, and how “stupid” would it be to whack a star witness, knowing how much that would frighten other potential witnesses? That would be incredibly stupid. Better, if you’re a criminal facing prison and the loss of your wealth, to simply let the system work on its own. That’s how most criminals think. The smart ones anyway.

      2. JTFaraday

        But the evidence, sufficient witnesses isn’t the problem. The problem is getting people to act on the open secret.

        1. CaitlinO

          Exactly. The problem for justice being done is that the people/institutions who can bring these cases have no interest in doing so. There’s really no need to kill a witness when so many of the AGs, DAs, Eric Holders in the world are perfectly content to turn a blind eye.

          Now, if the coroner’s report comes out signed by Tywanna Thomas then I’ll definitely rethink my position.

          1. JTFaraday

            Killing this woman won’t terminally bury evidence, but killing this woman could intimidate the few others who are attempting to act.

            If someone you loved were involved in this case, you wouldn’t be more afraid of what might happen to them now than you were before? You wouldn’t be more concerned with their safety than some “abstract” concept of justice?

            These people are pretty isolated. We should, in fact, be occupying THEM and gathering mass public support around THEM.

            I understand why people are saying “we don’t know.” I don’t understand why people are in denial about the usefulness to the criminal cabal in killing her.

          2. Karl Rove's Contrariantard Brian

            Caitlin, you’re right that no other officials are pursuing the fraud despite all evidence–EXCEPT IN NEVADA. That is the reason why there’s such an obvious motive. You have mass rampant foreclosure fraud nationwide, but only one serious case that might blow it open and set precedent–and the star whistleblower/witness mysteriously dies on the day of her (suspended) sentence hearing. Now please prove to us that you’re a human and not a trollbot with a singular PR mission here and show a bit of honest give-and-take.

  28. George Phillies

    For some reason, as Federal banks are involved, I suspect that there will be Federal investigatory involvement.

    I am also reminded of the fellow who when I was a young man was elected labor union President as an insurgent, and was soon thereafter murdered. The Federal criminal investigation marched up the stairs “turn, or do 30 years to life” to the top. It took a while, but it got to the top.

    If someone actually had the person murdered, as opposed to coronary on being told what prisons are really like, the people in question may well regret their decision.

  29. thump

    So,whom do we call to demand an independent investigation of her death? Come to think of it, who would be able to perform said “independent investigation”?

    1. Dan

      Yeah, I’d have to agree with this. In the scheme of things, we’re talking about a low-level nobody. You get to the top by being ruthless and thriving on stress where others burn out. When you take some low-level employee and hit them with the prospect of time in Real Prison (not CEO camp) there’s anything ranging from heart attacks to suicidal depression. Couple that with the stress of having to “betray” the people you worked with by testifying against them. Someone who turns evidence against wrongdoing still has an internal code of ethics, and it’s hard to square that with throwing people you know in jail.

      1. Sy Krass

        Dan, you must either really like work or your co-workers. I wouldn’t hesitate to turn in some of the true shit heads I work with if they were doing someting horrible.

  30. larry

    It is difficult to contend that a murder technique is undetectable simpliciter. But it is possible to murder someone in a manner that might not be detectable by the average coroner who might not be looking for a particular method that might have been used. For example, a needle through the ear drum into the brain with some difficult to analyze poison. A needle mark between the toes can be detected in a lot of cases if someone looks precisely for that.

    Having said that, the techniques found in mystery fiction often do not occur in real life. There are other issues unrelated to the political situation. Suicide and accidental death &c involve less paperwork, among other things, than murder. How suicide is looked upon may vary from police force to police force and community to community.

    Having said all that, the death of this person is quite convenient for some people. Of course, convenience isn’t evidence, and no one could reasonably say that it was.

  31. Praedor

    What are the names and addresses of all the people involved in forclosures in Nevada?

    This is information that should be posted. The people have a right to know who and where these people are.

  32. Praedor

    If it turns out to be a murder, it is outright silly and self-defeating. A murder of this type SCREAMS for investigators to look even CLOSER at the people she turned in. It wouldn’t help the criminals (foreclosure processors/robosigners) but would focus a targeting laser of DEEPER investigation upon them all.

  33. Ray Phenicie

    So to finalize the conversation:
    Cookie cutter soft ware that was used to make fodder for the highly automated, illegal and fraudulent foreclosure process may be exposed by a key witness, except that witness is now

    Millions of dollars in income that was generated by this foreclosure process and flowing into the coffers of LPS could potentially be stopped except that the key witness who could testify in court about the details of the process is now

    Two mid (low mid at that) management team members at LPS face possible jail time (behind walls and razor barbed wire, hostile inmates for comapany , drug dealing, rape happy security guards everywhere) but no that will no longer happen because the key witness whose testimony is needed to convict those felonious fraudsters is no

    Often, basic court level action, as in the many Civil Rights cases that went through the nation’s courts for 40 years preceding the Passage of the Civil Rights act can make a difference. In this case, that can no longer happen because a key witness is

  34. Greg R

    Like everyone else here, I don’t know what really happened. But, I’d like to propose that the phrase “that’s preposterous” be relegated to the dustbin permanently. All those in favor say aye.

  35. Yves Smith Post author

    I received this message from an attorney:

    LPS directly threatened my life four years ago when all of this started in early 2008. They have threatened XXXX with the NV AG’s office.

    They routinely run at my computer systems. They track my activities online, I have good reason to believe they have tapped my cell phone and I don’t doubt for a second they killed this lady, just don’t have enough details yet to figure out how they might have made it look like suicide.

    Make no mistake, LPS is evil, mean-spirited and certain to continue in their criminal ways until they are stopped. There are far, far too few politicians and civil servants willing to cross them and even fewer private attorneys mean/stubborn/stupid/crazy enough to take them on.

    I’ve told my family for the last few years that if I turned up dead for ANY reason they should assume it was LPS and act accordingly.

    Another person involved in foreclosure investigations who had had her phone tapped and her computer tampered with wrote:

    A man sat down next to me on a flight and leaned forward and said “You know what happens to people who sue banks? They end up dead.”

  36. orionATL

    when first i visited earlier, there were some 60 comments.

    now there are 200+.

    i am going to suggest what may well have been suggested somewhere between 60 and 200:

    that is, that organized crime played a large part in the mortgage fraud business in nevada.

    it would not surprise me a whit if organized crime, whether by the name “mafia”, or any other name, played a large role in mortgage fraud in nevada, and in the nation at large,

    or at least in nevada and florida, perhaps also in california and arizona.

    this raises in a more profound way, the inactivity, relative to mortgage fraud by large banks and private mortgage initiators,

    of the u.s. dept of “justice” under eric holder and barack obama,

    and the inactivity, relative to mortgage fraud, of the doj’s little brother, the fbi.

    i am awaiting with great interest the reaction of the nevada attorney general,

    and, even more so, the reaction of the u.s. doj.

  37. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Brian Ross, reporter, NBC, Atlanta: 23 Jul 1991:
    “The collapse of BCCI has comfirmed what many investigators suspected for several years–that this bank was, without a doubt, the world’s dirtiest bank; and that, wherever it went, its way of doing business was corruption, ceceit, and fraud. Now, with almost 5 billion dollars missing, the BCCI scandal is sending financial politial shock waves around the world.
    “Little was known about BCCI, until six of its top officers were arrested in Tampa in October of 1988 on charges of laundering drug money for Colimbian cocaine bosses. The BCCI men were convicted, and for some reason, the bank was allowed to continue to operate all over the world. And investigators say, U.S. prosecurtors failed to follow up on evidence of widespread corruption and other crimes that finally led this month to the bank being shut down.
    (Says Jack Plough [“Plow”] before a Senate Subcommittee]: “Too many secrets of too many countries, too many prominent people, too many hands on, and that makes it desirable that this entire affair be forgotten, by people in public life. The problem is, it can’t be forgotten, because it’s too important if we’re to maintain democratic institutions.”
    http://www.youtube.com — “BCCI Scandal Detailed Report 7 23 1991 NBC” uploaded by CoreOfCorruption on Aug 22, 2009.

    Connect with the following on http://www.youtube.com

    “BCCI – The CIA Bank of Mujahedeen Heroin, Iran-Contra Cocaine, and Black Market Islamic Nukes” uploaded by IranContraScumDid911 on Dec 12, 2010;

    “BCCI Scandal Pakistan’s Nuclear Program Funded 8 6 1991 NBC” uploaded by CoreOfCorruption on Aug 22, 2009: “Hoping to get to the bottom of the scandal by extraditing from Germany a retired Pakistani General who was arrested last month in Frankfurt. He’s said to be the mastermind who secretly purchased materials from all over the world for Pakistan’s atomic bomb.”

    BCCI Bank – “Drug and Arms Money Laundering Operations” uploaded by IranContraScumDid911 on Dec 12, 2010″ NOTE the text at length below the video: “1997 News Gokal in Prison for BCCI Fraud – illegal arms traders. For the Afghanis, the rule was ‘drugs out, American and British arms in….The bank served international organized crime involved in extrotion, bribery, kidnapping and murder….
    “The Iran/Contra scandal…CIA…Noriega…NSC staffer Oliver North…Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi middleman and fixer, used a BCCI account…checks signed by North were drawn on the Paris branch of BCCI, which ‘had no records of the account ….”
    “Saddam Hussein. During Reagan-Bush support of Iraq as an adversary to Iran, BCCI funneled millions of dollars to Baghdad’s banker in the U.S., the Atlanta branch of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro ….BNL was a client of Kissinger Associates, and Henry Kissinger was on teh bank’s international advisory board along with Brent Scowcroft…
    “Jack Blum told me, ‘This whole collection fo people were wrapped up in the Bush crown in Texas.’ Prominent Saudis played a key role….
    “Then there was James Bath, a Texas businessman, who owned Houston’s Main Bank with Bin Mahfouz and Pharaon. When George W. Bush set up Arbusto Energy Inc. in 1979 and 1980, Bath provided some of the financing. … Harken Energy Corp….” NOTE: Bath was Bush’s National Guard buddy, also involved with ENRON.

    ZALMAY KHALILZAD was the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan under the Bush Administration, and a former Unocal Advisor, like Hamid Karzai (Unocal advisor) who abetted the Cheney-Bush plan to see installed the Trans-Afghan pipeline from the Caspian Sea, for Unocal/Chevron, to be built by Halliburton.

    http://www.youtube.com – “The REAL Reason the U.S. Wants to Attack Iran” uploaded by churchmn on Sep 7, 2008″ – which argues that the reason is to prevent Iran’s plan to build its own pipeline from Iran through Pakistan to India, so that the Bush-Cheney-Karzai-Khalilzad plan can be put into effect.

    http://www.gwu.edu — “The Nuclear Vault: The Making of the Cheney Regional Defense Strategy, 1991-1992” — re ZALMAY KHALILZAD within the Bush Administration: “Although his name appears rarely in recent releases, a major figure in the writing [of the Defence Planning Guidance released by the Defense Department] was Zalmay Khalilzad, director of the Policy Planning Staff in [Scooter] Libby’s office. …the DPG was written for Secretary of Defense, Richard Cheney….” – the piece is entitled:
    “‘Prevent the Reemergence of a New Rival’: The Making of the Cheney Regional Defense Strategy, 1991-1992: Declassified Studies from Cheney Pentagon Show Push for U.S. Military Predominance and a Strategy to ‘Prevent the Reemergence of a New Rival'” –posted The National Security Archive of George Washington University.

    Also at The National Security Archive of GWU: ” Pentagon Proposed Pretexts for Cuba Invasion in 1962″ — in which is discussed “faking a Cuban airforce attack on a civilian jetliner, and concocting a ‘Remember the Maine’ incident by blowing up a U.S. ship in Cuban waters and then blaming the incident on Cuban sabotage” — tactics in the “Operation Northwoods” plan during the Kennedy Administration. A link is provided to the original documentation.

    Re: Roberto Calvi and the Vatican’s “Banco Ambrosiano” held in Luxembourg, with connections worldwide (Calvi murdered and hanged under Blackfriar’s Bridge–see David A. Yallop’s “IN GOD’S NAME…”), wich had “unpublished accounts in CEDEL/Clearstream of Luxembourg; BCCI registered in Luxembourg, GHW Bush and BCCI: “In 1998 inquiries were blocked, … After the decline of the Soviet Union, the CIA was no longer interested in funding Afghan mujahideen and the bank was closed by Interpol one month after the Bilderberg meeting (at the hotel Stienberger, attended by David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger);” and Clearstream: “The assignment of Clearstream [carbon trading market] consists in gaining money from its clients, and organizing the acquisition and custody of bonds….With chair Luxembourg, Clearstream is transferring bonds and stocks for thousands of banks and finance companies represented in 107 countries, on third being tax havens.”

    As then, so now. Massive fraud is “par” for the course. As George Carlin affirmed: “They don’t give a F! about you.”

  38. orionATL

    let me suggest, further, as a hypothesis need i add,

    that large banks, such as citibank, boa, goldman-sachs,et al., could conceiveably have been operating with regard to mortgage derivatives with, at the very least, a suspicion that organized crime was actively involved in the “private mortgage loan” business which was feeding them mortgages to slice and dice and tranche.

    what a f+-+-ing mess our nation has drifted into!

  39. orionATL

    in fact, a question for those of you more sophisticated than in finance,

    would private mortgage initiation and lending

    not be a fine way to launder money?

    the mortgage market in the u.s. is measured in $trillions;

    what’s a few billion of, say, laundered drug money, here and there.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      An episode of “The Sopranos” featured Tony bragging about how much money he was making from “housing” rackets. Was this a *tell” placed in the script by a racketeer in media, a “tip of the hand” showing how clever gangsters are, working the system in the U.S.

      What I know I cannot tell.

  40. Chunga's Revenge

    A lotta people are really getting their conspiracy theory on over this woman’s supposed suicide by pill. Let me again attempt to be a cold shower on the festivities…if only to set the conspiracy freaks off some more.

    What did this woman stand to know? I have her down as a sub 50K/yr desk jockey who got herself into trouble when she was detected betraying the legal responsibilities as a sworn notary while she was working for a banker scoundrel outfit. It’s not as though she stood to blow any serious whistles on the bullshit scene that is at play. In the hierarchy of scoundrel banksters, where does a pet notary stand? Not terribly high, I’d wager. Besides, it’s Vegas. Bet she was unemployed and approaching homeless, what with the Vegas economy/housing market being what it is. Unemployed? in Vegas? Facing some jail time for being a no good shit on that certified notary thing she took up? I think supposing straight up suicide is well within reason here.

    It’s not as though investigators need the leads that a notary gone bad would provide. At all. Much less to a point where straight up murder is called for. There’s low hanging investigative fruit everywhere, there’s just not much interest amongst our legal representatives in plucking it.

    good thread…good thread

    had me giggling

    like trading stories with hobos…

    1. Karl Rove's Contrariantard Brian

      First of all, you’re not even American, as your diction makes clear, so the real laughs are watching you come back again and again and again pretending that you’re having a laugh while expending enormous amounts of time and energy posting comments about how you’re having a laugh and not bothered a wink. So I think I speak for a lot of Americans when I say, please keep coming back here to troll, we get a kind of perverse pleasure watching you either go crazy and pretend you’re not, or work up a lather on behalf of your PR firm sponsor–hard to say which is more of a hoot. Only thing I kinda miss is when you flash your Ockham’s Razor, that’s like a sitcom catchphrase for right-wing trolls at this point, guaranteed laugh track response.

      Now, that said, because we’re Americans here and we actually have a stake in this story, I’m just going to remind my fellow countrymen why her testimony mattered and what was at stake, this is a quote from the MSNBC article about her “assisted-suicide”:

      Police said at the time that the alleged scam had thrown into question the legality of most Las Vegas home foreclosures in the past few years, leaving many people living in foreclosed-upon homes that they unknowingly don’t actually own.

  41. LVInsider

    For those of you who feel Tracy’s death is suspicious please do something about it and contact Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and tell them to open a full investigation into this matter. Their website is lvmpd.com and their general number is 702-828-3111. The sheriffs e-mail is sheriff@lvmpd.com and the public information officer’s is pio@lvmpd.com. What Tracy did when she worked at LPS was wrong and she knew that and was trying to make things right. It took a lot of courage for her to come forward and do the right thing. Don’t cast dispersions at her (especially now) they should be cast at all the others that don’t have the courage to come forward. She got a reduced sentence due to her full cooperation. She deserves better than this regardless of whether her death was an accident, at her own hands or murder. She deserves a full investigation just like everybody else. Please help make a difference and contact LVMPD today!

  42. chris

    Brian do you still believe the government is for the people by the people too? Stop the philosophical circular BS and start to look at just the facts. After doing so try and remove any hint of speculation that there may have been foul play involved in this death. If you are attempting to act as a voice of reason then be more reasonable. You also are a bit over the top with your accusations directed toward this blog. Yves has a pretty solid track record with a very large body of work to back up what she says in her posts. She also has always been clear as to her intent. It is not a stretch to think the timing of this death is suspicious.

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