Technical & Legal Archives - Page 2 of 14 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
123Notary

Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice – 123notary.com Control Panel

February 17, 2019

Can a Notary get in trouble?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: — admin @ 10:41 am

Can a Notary Public get in trouble? Can a Notary get in legal trouble? The answer is yes, but it might surprise you how it happens.

In my experience running a site where we have listed 55,000 Notaries to date, the only Notaries I have heard of who ended up in jail willfully engaged in very serious fraud involving real property. They falsified documents in order to steal property basically. This is the worst thing a notary can do and the penalties can be ten or more years in prison.

However there are other things a Notary can do where they might get fined, lose their commission, or get reprimanded.

1. A California Notary must maintain a journal to the standards of the state. The state of California audits Notary journals regularly by asking Notaries to mail in particular copies of pages of their journal If you are putting more than one document per journal entry, missing signatures, thumbprints (if applicable) or anything else, you can get a warning, get fined, or lose your commission for good. If you rely on your notary commission to make a living, obey the laws of the state — they will check up on you.

2. Falsifying a date in a notary certificate. Don’t do that. It is fraud. It might help your signer, and they might bribe you but you could lose your commission over that.

3. Omitting an Oath. Most Notaries think administering Oaths is a joke. If you get caught by a judge for failing to administer an Oath you could get fined, lose your commission, or possibly go to jail for perjury if you issued a written statement stating that an Oath had indeed been issued.

4. Goofing on your notary test with 123notary. The worst thing that can happen is that we might want you to study up and try again.

5. Sending a loose certificate in the mail. Very illegal, but people will ask you to do this. You can lose your commission over just one incident so don’t do it.

6. You might notarize someone who is John W Smith in the document but whose ID says John Smith and you might be notarizing the wrong person who is committing fraud.

But, there are other ways a Notary can get in trouble that are not the fault of the Notary.

1. Someone could give you a false ID and impersonate someone else. You might end up in court because of this, but as a witness not a defendant.

2. The FBI might investigate fraud that was done by a signer or someone impersonating you.

3. Someone can copy the impression of your notary seal and make a false certificate using it.

4. Someone you notarize might have a real ID, but have the same exact name as someone else and impersonate them.

5. An elderly person might be getting taken advantage that you notarized. They might not remember much in court so make sure your elder signers know what is going on. It is still risky if they know what is going on because by the time they get to court they might be completely senile.

Share
>

February 16, 2019

What is a document date?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 10:42 am

What is a document date on a document? Is the document date an important fact for Notaries to know? There is a great bit of confusion about this topic.

A document date is an arbitrary date that the document drafter adds or inscribes within the document. Although the document date is arbitrary, certain customs apply.

The document date is usually based on the date the document is either written, becomes effective, or is intended to be signed.

In real life, sometimes signings are postponed by a day or two because something came up. The main point to remember here is that there is no hard and fast rule as to what a document date is, can be or should be. To further research this point, I read through the first several dozen posts on Google about this topic and none of them address is clearly.

Share
>

February 14, 2019

Notarizing confidential marriage licenses

Notarizing confidential marriage licenses

Marriage licenses are normally issued by the county clerk’s office. There are agencies that can expedite the process of getting this license. The use of a wedding officiant is an efficient way to get your marriage license.

Many Notaries do weddings. But, finding them on 123notary is not always easy. We have many Notaries in Florida and South Carolina who do weddings. To find Notaries in other states to do confidential marriage licenses, you should visit google and enter the words:

Your state
Your city
confidential marriage license
wedding officiant
Notarizing

You might not be able to use all of those words in each search, but fool around with the words and you might find someone good who is not too far away.

Share
>

February 13, 2019

How do you notarize a copy of a passport?

A few states might allow copy certification on the part of the Notary which means that the notary would officially vouch for the truthfulness and authenticity of the copy.

However, most states do not allow this. Copy certification by document custodian is an embellished Jurat. It requires the signer or document custodian to swear to the truthfulness of the copy of the document. It is generally best that the notary also inspect the document to make sure it is a true copy and perhaps write an informal note stating the same. This is how I was trained when I was a Notary Public.

Share
>

January 29, 2019

Can a Notary go to jail for Notary fraud?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: — admin @ 2:52 am

Can a Notary go to jail for Notary fraud?
Can a Notary go to prison for Notary fraud?

Notaries very rarely end up in jail. There are many illegal things that Notaries to almost daily. However, the law seems to rarely catch up with them unless a crime is committed where there are damages. Additionally, if the crime was committed with intent to steal, embezzle, or harm someone, the Notary would be in a lot worse trouble.

Notaries typically do not administer Oaths for Jurats. Those that do, typically administer an Oath in my opinion incorrectly. I test Notaries regularly and this is how I know. It is illegal to sign a Jurat that makes you claim that you supervised an Oath when in fact you did not. That might be considered perjury, although I am not an Attorney and cannot say with any certainty. However, Notaries very rarely get in trouble for omissions in their duty.

The only time I have heard of a Notary going to jail was one who assisted in fraud involving real property. The Notary falsified paperwork, probably Deeds of some sort and helped someone steal someone else’s property. That Notary got put away for a long time.

However, Notaries end up in court regularly for things that signers did fraudulently. Some signers alter documents after they were notarized. Other signers committed identity fraud. Once in a while, someone will forge a notary seal and pretend to be a particular Notary. It is common those these acts of fraud to result in a Notary being supoenaed to court or at least being investiated.

So, unless a Notary does something intentionally to cause financial harm to another person, it is unlikely that they will end up in jail — but, then.. who knows…

Share
>

January 27, 2019

Witnessing a Will

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 3:53 am

It is traditional procedure for Will signings to be witnessed. Normally, there would be two witnesses over the age of eighteen to witness the signing of a Will. In Vermont, there would need to be three witnesses. It is not a bad idea, but not necessary to have a Notary Public be one of the witnesses.

A Notary Public does not normally notarized the principal’s signature on a Will unless an Attorney asks them to in writing. However, it is not a bad idea for a Notary Public to notarized the signatures of the witnesses at a Will signing for a Last Will and Testament.

It is very critical for a will to be signed using the same name variation that is printed below the signature line. It is also critical that the signature is dated appropriately. The signature must be at the end or bottom of the document. Witnesses must not only sign, but also print their name very clearly and legibly below their signatures and the date.

It is a good practice for the witnesses to inscribe (write) their address and perhaps phone number as well should they need to be contacted by investigators at any time for any reason. The witnesses should not only see the principal signer sign, but should also witness each other sign.

When choosing witnesses, be advised that they might have to be questioned or even appear in court after the fact. The closer their know you the better. However, the fact that they know you and/or watched you sign is technically enough. The witnesses should not have a beneficial interest or financial interest in the signing of the Will. So, it is better to have people know you, but not people who are inheriting money, rights or property from you as witnesses to the signing.

Once the will is signed, you should make photocopies, and can consider having your Attorney, executors, and/or document custodians have possession of the copies. Please consult your Attorney to make sure you have the correct party having possession of your will. And if amendments need to be made, the document custodian will need to have the revised edition. The actual documents should be saved in a safe, dry place — perhaps a file drawer or lock box.

You might also like:

Witnessing a Will
https://www.netlawman.co.uk/ia/sign-will

Witnessing a Will according to LegalZoom
https://info.legalzoom.com/rules-witnessing-20722.html

Preparing to sign a last will and testament
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19967

Living Will vs. Medical Power of Attorney
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18966

Can a Notary witness a will or notarize one?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1525

Share
>

January 5, 2019

A forged Notary seal ends someone up with a prison sentence

Jeremy Belmont
8:06 PM (0 minutes ago)
to me
A man from Glendale, CA earned himself a ten year prison sentence by forging a Notary seal in an attempted to conduct a 5.4 million dollar Mortgage fraud scheme. There were two co-conspirators who each served sentences themselves. One was for 6.5 years and the other for 4. years.

The fact that the criminal had altered an “authentication feature,” made the sentencing longer according to federal guidelines. The criminal used falsified documents using his false seal to fool county recorders.

Crimes like this involving Notaries engaging in fraud relating to real property (such as houses, etc.) are the worst crimes that a Notary can commit and normally end up in jail time. There are other things Notaries typically do wrong like falsifying dates on certificates which can also get you in a lot of trouble. Notaries typically do not administer Oaths correctly, or at all which can result in your commission being revoked. As a Notary, you really need to consider the fact that if you fool around with your commission, it can be taken away from you.

There was another case where a Sacramento Notary was involved in a 19 million dollar fraud scheme by impersonating NNA’s 2007 Notary of the Year. The perpetrator fled to Lebanon and was arrested upon re-entering the United States. Sampson, the Notary whose name was fraudulently used protected herself by showing her journal to prove that she had not performed those notarizations.

Let this be a lesson to those who say, and often in a whiny voice, “My state doesn’t require journals.” Without that journal, you could be accused of conspiracy in a 19 million dollar fraud scheme or identity fraud, or worse…

You might also like:

See our string of posts about Notary fraud
http://blog.123notary.com/?s=notary+fraud

California man pleads guilty in stolen Notary ID case.
https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2012/01/california-guilty-notary-id-case

What is the burden of proof for Notary fraud?
https://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/what-is-a-burden-of-proof-for-a-notary-fraud-in-ca-2629309.html

.

What is the penalty for notary fraud?
Notary Fraud California
Notary Fraud New York
Notary Fraud Florida
Can a Notary be sued for fraud?
Fraudulent Notarization Pennsylvania
Fraudulent Notarization California
Fraudulent Notarization New York
What is the legal charge for witness and notary for fraudulent signatures
What is the punishment for an attorney notarizing a fraudulent document?
What to do about a fraudulent notary signature

Share
>

January 2, 2019

Fake Notary Seals

It is illegal to use a fake Notary seal, forged notary seal or fraudulent notary seal. It is also illegal to borrower someone else’s notary seal whether you use it or not. But, how can you tell a Notary seal is fake?

A real Notary Seal should display the name of the notary, county where they are commissioned, serial number and a commission expiration date. the stamp or seal should also have some sort of a border. There are various types of designs for borders such as serrated, milled, etc.

How do you know if a notary seal is fake? If the fraud is not very professional, their seal might be lacking some of the required information or might be made in a sloppy manner. However, it is quite possible a fraud could have gone to a professional stamp manufacturer and gotten a seal created, perhaps overseas where U.S. laws cannot be enforced. You might not know if a seal is fake. But, the bigger danger is that a person imposters you that you never see, and goes to a notary who you never meets and they try to forge a deed to your house. If they do, they will probably get caught and do some serious time in the big house. So, don’t lose sleep over this.

Notary Seal information from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8337

Fraud and forgery in the notary profession
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2294

Forged Notary seals earn longer prison sentence
https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/06/forged-notary-seals-longer-prison-sentence

What you need to know about notary fraud
https://www.farahlegal.com/news/need-know-notary-fraud/

Share
>

January 1, 2019

eNotary — Electronic Notary & Electronic Notarizations

Can I get an electronic notarization? Can I get an eSignature notarized?

The answer to this question is that it depends on what type of document you are having notarized. Additionally, the notary needs to be able to identify you.

A Notary must apply for a special and separate eNotary commission that is above and beyond their regular notary commission. This is only allowed in specific states as well.

To become an eNotary, just become a regular Notary and then say, “Vanna, can I buy a vowel?” Just kidding. Please ask your secretary of state’s notary division how to apply to be an eNotary.

Many of the states that allow eNotarizations require the physical appearance of the signer before the notary public for all transactions. I heard that in Virginia, an eNotary can notarize people remotely in any part of the world. Please read this FAQ page to read the details of remote notarizations.

Remove Notarizations allowed for Virginia eNotaries
https://www.commonwealth.virginia.gov/official-documents/notary-commissions/enotary-faq/
Colorado eNotary
Personal appearance is also required in Colorado.
https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/notary/eNotary.html

West Virginia eNotary — West Virginia Electronic Notary
This state requires physical presence of the signer for eNotarizations alghough the signature can be digital.
https://sos.wv.gov/business-licensing/notaries/Pages/ElectronicNotarization.aspx

Texas eNotary — Texas Electronic Notary
https://www.sos.state.tx.us/statdoc/gettingstarted.shtml

Virginia eNotary — Virginia Electronic Notary
https://www.commonwealth.virginia.gov/official-documents/notary-commissions/enotary/

The Pros and Cons of eNotarizations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3672

12 points on e-notarizations (old)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=228

Share
>

December 30, 2018

When are you required by law to do Oaths?

As we all know, state notary laws differ from state to state. Since I live in California, it is difficult for me to know what all the Notary laws are in other states. Sometimes I create a chart as a cheat sheet to know which states require certain things and which ones don’t. However, every state I have read about (I read handbooks for all states so you will have a problem fooling me — they are all online except for NC if I remember correctly) requires Oaths and has Oaths in the handbook as an official duty of a Notary Public. So, I am going to write some quiz pointers about Oaths below.

1. Oaths are an official Notary act in all states.
If I am wrong, show me your state notary handbook and show me the omission of Oaths.

2. Affirmations are an official Notary act in almost all states…
Or perhaps, now they are in all states. Not sure…

3. If you see the words — SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN (or affirmed) TO BEFORE ME BY…
This is Oath documentation verbiage. It is NOT the Oath itself, but the documentation that you administered an Oath or perhaps Affirmation. If you sign a form stating the above verbiage and do not administer an Oath, you have just committed fraud on a Notarial certificate which is a crime. I am not sure what type of crime it is, but it might be fraud, or even perjury which is a Federal crime punishable by up to five years in jail per infraction. Gulp. Please consult an Attorney to see what type of crime he/she thinks it is as my opinion is a layperson opinion and not legal advice.

4. My state doesn’t require Oaths.
I hear this every day. Your state DOES require Oaths, however your state doesn’t require you to read the handbook that says you have Oaths as an official duty. Moreover, your state doesn’t explain how to administer an Oath or WHEN to administer an Oath. I can blame your state, but this is also your fault if you go through life engaging in criminal negligence because you did not bother to learn when and how to administer Oaths.

5. We don’t do Oaths in my state.
Some people claim that Oaths might be an official Notary act in their state, but that it is never done. This is also not true. Carmen (who does sales for 123notary) does loan signings for out of state documents all the time and every single package has at least one Oath that is part of a JURAT.

6. If you see the word AFFIDAVIT in the title of a document.
The word Affidavit customarily means that the document is to be sworn to before a state official commissioned with the capacity to administer Oaths such as a Judge, Notary Public, Justice of the Peace, etc. If you see the word Affidavit, it is possible, although unlikely that you will execute an Acknowledged signature on that form. 99% or more of the time you will execute a Jurat, and Jurats by definition require the signer to sign (subscribe) in front of you and swear under Oath as to the truthfulness of the document.

7. Are you swearing to the identity of the signer, the signature or the truthfulness of the document.
Many Notaries administer Oaths to me over the phone on quizzes and make me repeat my name several times. However, the Oath for a document is regarding whether or not the document is true or not, and NOT to my identity. However, if the document makes me specifically swear to my name or name variations then I would have to swear to my identity. Additionally, an Oath on a document does not require the Affiant (signer) to swear to whether or not they signed it or whether or not they signed it on their own free will unless their state specifically requires it or unless the cheat sheet for the Oath requires it. As a general rule, an Oath on a document must be regarding the truthfulness of the document as the primary focus. Any other considerations are secondary or perhaps not necessary or perhaps should be left out.

8. Why Oath cheat sheets are dangerous
If you do not know the legal requirements of an Oath on a document in your state, you might not administer a passable Oath if you read off the cheat sheet. In my opinion which is based on logic, but not on law, an Oath on a document must be about the truthfulness of the document. If your cheat sheet for an Oath says, “Do you solemnly swear you signed this document.” — that would lead to an incomplete notarization because you never swore to the truthfulness of the document.

9. I don’t do Oaths, I only do Refinances.
Newsflash — Every refinance I have ever seen has at least one Oath. If there is an Affidavit such as a signature affidavit, identity affidavit, or occupancy affidavit, customarily there will be an Oath. If you do Refinances, you are required to do Oaths as part of fulfilling the statements on the Jurat certificate(s).

10. Oaths on oral statements or without Jurats
You might be asked to give an Oath on an oral statement. There might not be any paperwork involved other than your journal. You need to read up on how to do this. You might also be asked to give an Oath on a document that does not have a Jurat. You would have to ad-lib to come up with verbiage so practice on random documents to get the feel of it.

11. Remote court attendance.
Florida state allows certain witnesses to appear in court by phone. A Notary must swear them in from their remote location. This type of Oath requires the Notary to look at their ID, read it to the judge and do the TV court Oath of how you swear to tell the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God.

12. Penalties for wrong or omitted Oaths.
Notaries rarely get in trouble for omitting a required Oath or refusing to administer an Oath. But, there are times when they do. Here are the things that could happen to you. Why take chances? It is like leaving your door unlocked.

(a.) REVOKED COMMISSION — Your commission could be revoked. I heard of several Notaries in Oklahoma who did not administer Oaths on loan documents.

(b.) OVERTURNED LOANS — The loan that had documents with required Oaths could be overturned by a Judge if they find out that the Notary did not administer an Oath.

(c.) GETTING SUED — The Notary could get sued by the Lender because there will be serious financial damages for the Lender because the Notary omitted a legally required Oath. Damages might be $20,000 or more if you get caught. People don’t get caught often — but when they do…

(d.) FINES — Certain states fine Notaries for misconduct and omissions. Failing to administer a required Oath in California used to have a $750 fine per incident. Now, it might be $1500. I am not sure of the exact fine, but it should be in that neighborhood.

(e.) JAIL — I have heard, and this may or may not be true, that making a false statement about an Oath on a certificate is perjury. The penalty for perjury is a jail sentence of up to five years per incident. So, you could end up in jail if the Feds or your state start checking up on Notaries to see if they are administering Oaths. They are not checking up now, but they could start any time.

(f.) LOSE LISTING — 123notary sometimes removes people for disciplinary reasons. If we find out that you do not obey Notary laws, we normally steer you to some educational materials. But, if you have a complete disregard for law, order, and common decency, you could lose your listing. We normally as a handful of Notary questions and will accept a very low average since most Notaries do not know their stuff. However, if you score under 50% on our quiz whether oral or written, you will most likely be in trouble with us. Although we are not commissioned to enforce laws, I do enforce who I list and that is my right and authority as owner of this site.

SUMMARY
Although Notaries only get in trouble for not administering an Oath once in a blue moon, it is illegal not to fulfill your duties as a Notary Public, and it only takes minutes to read up on when and how to administer Oaths. There is no reason for this type of blatant negligence and criminal behavior. So, please become an expert at administering Oaths. Your first step should be to read your state handbook and see what they say about Oaths. They probably do not do a complete job of teaching it which is part of the problem. The NNA and 123notary have materials as well, and you could consult an Attorney. Although Oath procedure is not taught properly by the states (not even California) you are still legally required to give Oaths and give logical and correct sounding Oaths.

.

You might also like:

Should you use book wording for Oaths or improvise?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19660

Airline meals verses Notary Oaths & Affirmations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19549

Oaths – How Notaries completely screw them up!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19369

Oaths and the art if improvisation
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19367

Notary Public 101 – Oaths, Affirmations, Jurats & Acknowledgments
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

Share
>
« Newer PostsOlder Posts »