A fraudulent signing in Fresno, CA
A notary did a signing and the notarizations were recorded in the notary’s journal.
The identification was perfect, and the notary suspected NOTHING… But, the signer had been engaging in fraud for quite some time.
Aparantly, the signer took out loans on properties all over the country, and nobody caught up to him — until now!
The signing got investigated by the Real Estate Fraud Unit of the County of Fresno District Attorney’s office. The fraud unit contacted the notary by phone and subpoened her records (journal). They needed to keep the journal for months because they were going to need to use it in court. The notary needed to notify the Secretary of State’s office in Sacramento about the incident as well.
Then, the notary called the notary signing company in Orange County and tried to find out where the man (signer) was currently located and what his contact information was. They found out that the signer had had some notarizations in a few Southern states and was going to do another one in Kentucky. The police were waiting for him at the signing (perhaps when the notary came), and the signer got arrested at the address where the signing was going to take place.
This fraudulent signer was using the same lender and signing company for his various frauds which made it easier to catch him since the signing company had information on him.
The moral of the story is that a notary can do a great job and have normal looking signers — but, there is no way to know if your borrower is a fraud or con artist. The second thing we can learn is that this con artist was not elusive enough!
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Fraud & Journals: in our Feb 2013 Phoninar
To notarize or not to notarize, that is the question