Ex-process server convicted of more counts in affidavit scheme

by Jessica Ebelhar/Las Vegas Review-Journal

Maurice Carroll, 43, a former Las Vegas police officer, was previously convicted of 17 counts related to filing false affidavits.
Maurice Carroll, 43, a former Las Vegas police officer, was previously convicted of 17 counts related to filing false affidavits.
A jury convicted former process server Maurice Carroll on Friday of 17 forgery counts in a scheme to file false affidavits in Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas justice courts.

The 12-member panel deliberated for three hours after a week of testimony and arguments.

Carroll, 43, a former Las Vegas police officer, was previously convicted of 17 counts of filing false court documents and one count of obtaining money under false pretenses in the 2010 scheme.

At the request of prosecutors, District Judge Elissa Cadish ordered Carroll remanded into custody while he awaits his Jan. 16 sentencing on all 35 felony charges.

“I think it’s finally caught up with him,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Mike Staudaher said afterward.

The charges focus on phony court affidavits Carroll was accused of putting together in civil cases involving one of his clients, debt collector Richland Holdings.

Carroll was accused of failing to serve documents in 17 Richland Holdings cases in May and June 2010, though he certified them as served in Justice Court affidavits.

As a consequence, people named in the affidavits were not notified they were being sued by Richland Holdings.

Earlier in the weeklong trial, Staudaher told the jury many of the people Carroll swore he had served weren’t even home at the time. Some were at work, one couple was in England, and one address didn’t exist, Staudaher said.

Chief Deputy Public Defender Will Ewing maintained there was no deliberate scheme to falsify the affidavits. Ewing suggested the affidavits were prepared from “dead files” and weren’t meant to be submitted in court. Carroll used the dead files, cases involving people his company was unable to serve, to help train new employees, Ewing said.

But on Wednesday, Carroll’s former office manager testified Carroll regularly instructed her to sign affidavits falsely swearing she had served defendants.

Vilisia Coleman, 47, who worked for Carroll’s process serving company between 2007 and 2010, told a jury that Carroll sometimes handed her stacks of 20 to 30 affidavits to sign unlawfully.

Coleman pleaded guilty last year to perjury and filing false court documents and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Justice Court officials think Carroll’s company, which no longer is serving documents, might have harmed the court system over a period of years.

The company, which operated without a license for nearly seven years, was involved in some 25,000 civil cases in Las Vegas Justice Court, officials have said.

Carroll also had been standing trial on perjury charges this week in the affidavits scheme, but Cadish instructed the jury that it could only convict him of perjury or forgery.

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4 Tips for Handling Dangerous Serves

1. Smile & be courteous.

This was the top comment made by other process servers. As Tressy Capps of T Capps Process Service (CA) said “Serve as you would be served”. Having a smile ready as well as being calm and professional will help to not inflame an already emotional situation, as the news being received generally isn’t good – unless of course someone has been waiting on those divorce papers!

Being sympathetic to the individual’s situation doesn’t hurt either. Dave Luce of Love To Serve Them, LLC (CA) makes a good point, saying “I try to be understanding of their situation, answer as many of their questions as I can without giving legal advice, and try to let them know I am just the bearer of bad news, not the bad guys”.

2. Be prepared.

Do your homework seems to be the general consensus of the group. Whether it’s researching the neighborhood, doing a quick background check or even making a list of potential circumstances and planning out a response ahead of time, some sort of preparation is needed. It’s always better to be overly prepared than to go into a situation not knowing what to expect. As Timothy Sullivan of Tri County Process Service(WA) said, ” Always expect the unexpected!”

3. Call the police as backup if you need to.

While we try to limit this as we know the police have plenty of other things to handle, there are simply times when it was necessary. For example, when we had to return to serve a co-owner of a company whose partner told us when we served him that if we came back we’d better come prepared with a gun. That was certainly a good time to get the police to go with us when we had to return to the location.

Calling ahead of time to give a heads up always helps too, particularly if you will be doing any stake outs. This way the bases are covered and the police have been notified. The last thing you want is the neighborhood watch calling and the police showing up, letting the subject know exactly where you have been waiting for the past two hours.

4. Treat every serve as a potentially dangerous serve.

This last piece of advice seems to be one that can sometimes be the most difficult to follow. When serve after serve goes relatively smoothly, one can fall into a false sense of security. But the truth about process service is that you just never know when something is going to go wrong. J.B. Cook of Golden State Municipal Services (CA) provides a great example of this, telling the group “I’ve had gang members in BAD areas shake my hand and say thank you one day and have little old ladies in upscale areas let their dogs on me the next.”

Going into each service alert and ready for anything increases the likelihood of picking up on a situation where something may be about to go amiss.

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Tri County Process Service

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Service of Process

Process Service – Service of Process

Process Service is delivery or service of any document authorized by statute, rule, ordinance, regulation or court order that is evidenced by sworn proof of service (declaration) and signed by the person effecting the service.

Standard service of Process upon a person, marital community, or business at one address: Includes unlimited attempts, mileage, return fee, documents fees, narrative declaration when required and at your option, filing the original proof of service with the court.

Routine Service – When we have at least a week to complete the job.
Rush Service – Must be served within 4 days or less.
Rush Service – Today – Need it done today? Sure! We can do that.
Forwarding – throughout the State, Nationwide or Internationally.
Super-Serve – Is this person tough to find? Evading? You might need a us for your Super-Serve.

Service Requirements vary greatly depending on factors such as court jurisdiction and the type of document(s) being served.

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Off and running

Got a last minute Notice of Default up in Blaine, WA and from there it on to Sumas, WA for a Notice of Trustee Sale post. There goes my Friday night plans…

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