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September 25, 2018

Penalties for Notary misconduct, fraud, and failure of duty

Filed under: Notary Mistakes — Tags: , , — admin @ 11:23 am

Notaries by and large do not willfully engage in any type of illegal activity or illegal notarizations. The normal types of crimes Notaries commit are due to complete ignorance of Notary procedure, Oaths, and certificates. The only serious and purposeful crime I have ever heard of a Notary associated with us committing was one that assisted someone in fraud concerning real property — and the Notary ended up in jail. Please keep in mind that Notary law is different in every state and changes all the time as well. Penalties and fines for Notary misconduct are different in each state, California being the most stringent.

Negligent vs. Willful Misconduct

In California, the penalties are much more severe for Notaries who have engaged in willful misconduct rather than just making a careless mistake or omission.

Failure to keep your seal & journal under lock and key.
In California this is very serious and is a crime. You can keep your Notary equipment in a bag with a small lock that locks the zippers together. If you are the only one with access to your car, then the trunk of your car could work as well.

Unauthorized Practice of Law
The definition of UPL differs from state to state. However, offering opinions on legal matters or offering to draft legal documents might constitute UPL. For a professional opinion — ask an Attorney!

Asking a notary to do an improper notarization.
This is a misdemeanor in California. If it involves real property, then it is much more serious. Clients might ask you to notarize their signature using a different name variation that is not documented on their identification, or put a false date. This is illegal. They would guilty for asking you to do this, and you would be guilty if you give in to their pressure. If you have driven forty minutes to a signing job, in a sense you have a beneficial interest in notarizing their document unless you have gotten your travel fee up front when you walk in the door. So, to be prudent and avoid this issue, you MUST get your travel fee BEFORE you see the document, or are informed who the signers are, or see their ID, because a conflict of interest can easily happen. If someone asks you to do something illegal, you can threaten to report them to the Secretary of State’s office. This is a serious crime and you should treat it as such.

Issuing a false certificate
A notary who signs and seals false certificates, and this could include backdated certificates would be guilty of a misdemeanor. A false Acknowledgment certificate constitutes FORGERY. Additionally, the notary public could have their commission revoked if found guilty of this crime, with an additional fine of $1500 per incident in California (fines change over time so look this up in the statues).

Failure to Identify a Credible Witness
A fine of $10,000 per incident could occur if a notary fails to check a credible witness’s identification documents and see that they have acceptable identification.

Failure to get a thumbprint!!!
This is my favorite. Thumbprints are critical for identifying a signer if fraud is suspected. Powers of Attorney and Deeds require a journal thumbprint in California. A fine of up to $2500 per incident would be the penalty. Most other states do not require thumbprints, and Texas and Florida actually recommend against thumbprinting as those states do not trust Notaries with biometric data which is the only foolproof way to identify a signer. How ironic!

Failure to administer an Oath
A fine of $750 per incident could be incurred, not to mention revocation, or suspension of a notary commission, or refusal to grant a commission. I heard that some Notaries in Oklahoma had to go to court for a loan document signing in question. The Judge found out that the Notaries had not administered Oaths on the Affidavits in the loan package. I heard that the Judge overturned the loan and had the Notaries commissions permanently revoked by their state.

Felony Convictions
If you have a felony conviction or have been convicted of a crime involving dishonesty or moral turpitude, you will most likely not be allowed to get a notary commission in the first place. If you already had a notary commission, it would be suspended or revoked the minute your state’s ntoary division finds out about it!

Professional Misconduct
This refers to dishonesty in your professional activities. The penalty would once again be suspension, revocation, or refusal to grant a notary commission.

Failure of Duty
This means that you refuse to serve a member of the public who has a legitimate request for a notarization. However, if the signer doesn’t have proper identification, or doesn’t have a properly filled out document, or seems very questionable, you have the right to refuse service to such a client. The penalty would be refusal to grant a notary commission, suspension, or revocation of a notary commission. Additionally a fine of $750 could be imposed on the California notary public.

Falsely Acting as a Notary
This is a misdemeanor. Borrowing someone’s Notary seal and doing Notary work is a serious crime. If you are a Notary, keep your seal and journal locked up.

Making false statements to a notary
Anyone who induces a notary to make an improper notarization with regards to real property can be found guilty of a FELONY. This is the most serious type of fraud possible in the notary profession.

False or misleading notary advertising
Making false statements in notary advertising is illegal, and the penalty for a California Notary is $1500 per incident. Additionally, such a notary’s commission could be suspended, revoked, terminated, or there could be a refusal to issue a commission. Claiming to be an immigration expert, or be able to give legal advice could be a serious example of false advertising and perhaps unauthorized practice of law.

Selling personal information
It is illegal for the notary sells or misuses personal information of those he/she has notarized. Remember to keep your journals locked up, so that nobody can have access to that information. When making copies of journal entries, make sure that the neighboring journal entries are covered, so that their information is not shared with the public. Once again, your application could be denied, or your commission could be revoked or suspended for this type of crime.

Misstatements on a notary application (Application misstatement)
Your notary commission could be suspended, revoked, or refused if you are guilty of this misconduct

Here are some other crimes… I will just list them here, but may or may not describe the penalties.

Failure to deliver a journal to the county clerk at the end of your commission. – misdemeanor
Failure to safeguard seal and journal – revoke/suspend/refuse
Failure to report a lost or damaged seal – $1500 fine
Nonpayment of judgement / Refusal to pay child support – refusal to issue a commission
Failure to keep a journal – such notaries will be prosecuted

There are a few others laws that I am not going to mention, but these were the interesting ones…

You might also like:

A Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because someone changed a name on a certificate

Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because fraud adds name to Acknowledgment certificate.

All you need to know about notary work

All you need to know about notary work

How to complain about a notary public

How to complain about a notary public

Notary Fines and Penalties

Notary Fines & Notary Penalties (gulp)

Fraud and Forgery in the Notary Profession

Fraud & Forgery related to the notary profession

Notary Public General Information

Notary Public Information

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December 17, 2011

Penalties for notary misdeeds & misconduct!

Penalties for notary misconduct, crimes, and misdeeds 

I very rarely hear about notaries engaging in any type of illegal activity or illegal notarizations. The normal problem with notaries is lack of skill, neglegence, or bad tempers in a few cases.  I have only heard of one notary that engaged in a serious crime, and he went to jail.  This blog entry will discuss various types of notary misconduct and types of penalties for this misconduct in California. Please keep in mind that the notary rules are different in each of the 50 states, and that notary rules are also always changing.  However, if something is illegal in one state, there is a high chance that it will also be illegal in your state — although the penalties might be different. The information here is time sensitive and could change at any time. These are listed in the order of which I feel they are important to mobile notaries.
 
Asking a notary to do an improper notarization.
This is a misdemeanor.  If it involves real property, then it is much more serious.  Clients might ask you to notarize them using a different name variation that is not documented, or put a false date.  This is illegal. They are guilty for asking you to do this, and you will be guilty if you give in to their pressure. If you have driven thirty minutes to a job, you have a beneficial interest in notarizing their document unless you have gotten your travel fee up front when you walk in the door.  So, legally, you MUST get your travel fee BEFORE you see the document, or are informed who the signers are, or see their ID, because a conflict of interest can easily happen.  If someone asks you to do something illegal, you can threaten to report them to the Secretary of State’s office. This is a serious crime and you should treat it as such.
 
Issuing a false certificate
A notary who issues false certificates, and this could include backdated certificates would be guilty of a misdemeanor.  A false Acknowledgment certificate constitutes FORGERY.   Additionaly, the notary could have their commission revoked if found guilty of this crime, with an additional fine of $1500 per incident.
 
Failure to Identify a Credible Witness
A fine of $10,000 per incident could occur if a notary fails to check a credible witness’s identification documents and see that they have acceptable identification.
 
Failure to get a thumbprint!!!
This is my favorite.  Thumbprints are critical for identifying a signer if fraud is suspected.  Powers of Attorney and Deeds require a journal thumbprint in California.  A fine of up to $2500 per incident would be the penalty.
 
Failure to administer an Oath
A fine of $750 per incident could be incurred, not to mention revocation, or suspention of a notary commission, or refusal to grant a commission.
 
Felony Convictions
If you have a felony conviction or have been convicted of a crime involving dishonesty or moral turpitude, you will most likely not be allowed to get a notary commission in the first place.  If you already had a notary commission, it would be suspended or revoked the minute your state’s ntoary division finds out about it!
 
Professional Misconduct
This refers to dishonesty in your professional activities.  The penalty would once again be suspension, revocation, or refusal to grant a notary commission.
 
Failure of Duty
This means that you refuse to serve a member of the public who has a legitimate request for a notarization.  However, if the signer doesn’t have proper identification, or doesn’t have a properly filled out document, or seems very questionable, you have the right to refuse service to such a client.  The penalty would be refusal to grant a notary commission, suspension, or revocation of a notary commission. Additionally a fine of $750 could be imposed on the California notary public.
 
Falsely Acting as a Notary
This is a misdemeanor
 
Making false statements to a notary
Anyone who induces a notary to make an improper notarization with regards to real property can be found guilty of a FELONY.  This is the most serious type of fraud possible in the notary profession.
 
False or misleading notary advertising
Making false statements in notary advertising is illegal, and the penalty for California notaries is $1500 per incident.  Additionally, such a notary’s commission could be suspended, revoked, or there could be a refusal to issue a commission.  Claiming to be an immigration expert, or be able to give legal advice could be a serious example of false advertising. 
 
Selling personal information
If the notary sells or misuses personal information of those he/she has notarized, that is illegal as well.  Remember to keep your journals locked up, so that nobody can have access to that information. When making copies of journal entries, make sure that the neighboring journal entries are covered, so that their information is not shared with the public.  Once again, your application could be denied, or your commission could be suspended or revoked for such a crime.
 
Misstatements on a notary application (Application misstatement)
Your notary commission could be suspended, revoked, or refused if you are guilty of this misconduct
 
Here are some other crimes… I will just list them here, but may or may  not describe the penalties.
 
Failure to deliver a journal to the county clerk at the end of your commission. – misdemeanor
Failure to safeguard seal and journal – revoke/suspend/refuse
Failure to report a lost or damaged seal – $1500 fine
Nonpayment of judgement / Refusal to pay child support – refusal to issue a commission
Failure to keep a journal – such notaries will be prosecuted
 
There are a few others laws that I am not going to mention, but these were the interesting ones…

You might also like:

9/11 Notary Law Changes
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=212

All you need to know about notary work
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2354

How to complain about a notary public
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2179

Penalties for notary misconduct and fraud (2018 version)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21315

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March 17, 2020

Most popular posts as of 2019

Filed under: Compilations — admin @ 11:53 am

How to get something notarized if you don’t have ID
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=697

Can a notary perform a wedding or marriage?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1891

Penalties for notary misdeeds & misconduct!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2067

Names for Notary businesses that can get you in trouble
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19064

What does it mean to be Fidelity Approved?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20049

Do I notarize every page of a document?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2280

Can a notary notarize a birth certificate?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2300

Bank of America Power of Attorney Form
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21327

Where can I find a Spanish speaking notary?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18824

Notary Verbiage & Notary Wording
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18854

Can a notary sign on a different day?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2457

Can a notary get in trouble?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1745

Notarizing multi-page documents
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1706

Can a notary notarize a Will or Living Will?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7088

Can a notary sign an out of state Quit Claim Deed?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2182

Can a notary be a witness?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1273

Notarization Dates, Document Dates & Signature Dates!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2421

Websites from some of our best Notaries!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14677

Can a Virginia Notary notarize in DC or Maryland?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18782

Notary Public 101 from 123notary!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19493

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

Affidavit of Citizenship
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18847

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January 1, 2020

Robbing the dead — Notary style

Filed under: Drama & Tragedy — admin @ 11:06 pm

Yes, it is a common crime in Philadelphia as I am reading. People falsify deeds, and rob the dead of their property. This requires the use of a Notary or fake Notary or falsified Notary seals.

https://www.inquirer.com/news/house-theft-deeds-fraud-forgery-philadelphia-20190603.html

A new local law requiring photos of ID’s being used seems like a prudent step. Another tell-tale sign is a long gap between the signing of a document and its recording. Notaries are also checked by phone to make sure particular transactions are legitimate. Taking thumbprints of sellers has been proposed in Philadelphia, but not implemented yet. It is hard to forge a thumbprint and that seems like a very sensible fraud deterrent to me. There are other ways to regulate fraud, but those are a few main ones. Read the article for more information.

You might also like:

Can a notary go to jail for notary fraud?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21353

Penalties for notary misconduct, fraud, and failure of duty.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21315

The curse of the notary mummy
blog.123notary.com/?p=19918

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September 19, 2019

Handling complaints like a man!

Filed under: Reviews — admin @ 10:21 pm

As you know, 123notary has a review system, and the reviews are mainly positive. People are shy about writing negative reviews because the name of entity posting the review is public. So, if you get a negative review, it is serious. Additionally, I feel that if you get a good or bad review from someone who has written many reviews on our system, the review should count for more since the reliability of the source because more credible proportionate to the quantity of reviews they have written.

But, why do I feel this way? Some people hire a notary once, have an experience, and perhaps write about it. People who have written multiple reviews, normally work for a signing or title company who have hired thousands of Notaries and have a more even handed view of how a Notary should behave. If they complain about you, or compliment you, it means more to me as a site admin. Also people at signing or title companies are less likely to write a review than an individual client, so the “professional” reviews are more rate for that reason even though they use Notaries more.

Perhaps I should adjust the points system to reflect that fact. But, I am busy doing other things at the moment.

But, do you handle complaints like a man?
Many people on our site want to be removed if they get one little complaint. In real life, if you do enough jobs, sooner or later you will get a complaint. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Perhaps you lost your temper or flaked. None of us are perfect. The main thing is that you deal with it. Being a man is not about being perfect, it’s about dealing with what life throws at your (or tosses to you.)

Some customers want to be removed over one little thing and want their money back. Others want to write a ten page rebuttal of everything that happened at the signing and how the other person is completely unreasonable. I cannot publish anything that long, especially without spacing between paragraphs making it impossible to read.

In the unlikely event that you get a complaint — don’t argue with me about it. Just write a few paragraphs stating your side of the story, and try to be mature about it even if you aren’t mature. For people on our site whose average age is 55, the maturity level seems to be a problem for many. My suggestion – grow up, and don’t take these things personally. I get far more complaints than you guys get and I have to handle it. Imagine how I feel.

You might also like:

Common complaints we get about notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19399

Penalties for Notary misconduct, fraud and failure of duty
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21315

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July 27, 2019

Texas suspends notary who handle Stormy’s hush money

Filed under: Notary Mistakes — admin @ 2:11 am

Stormy Daniels signed a document regarding being paid $130,000 in hush money before the 2016 election. A Texas Notary named Erica Jackson notarized that non-disclosure agreement document concerning the money. But, the State of Texas terminated her Notary commission as a result. The Notary claims she did nothing wrong, yet got canned anyway?

However, the plot thickens. After I watched a video about what had happened, there was a stamp on the signature page, but no notarial certificate verbiage and no notary signature. The notary claimed that the Acknowledgment page which was the third page (that was no longer attached) that stated who was being notarized, etc., was omitted.

Additionally, there was an accusation that the Notary notarized without a signature of the Notary, but the Notary claims that she signed on other pages which were attached.

There was also journal record for the corresponding document, and the journal seemed to have been filled out correctly.

Jeremy’s Comments
If you are a Notary Public, it is quite likely that you could end up on the 6pm national news. So please take your job a little more seriously and get rid of this “I already know it all” attitude, as it is that attitude which prevents you from learning.

This Notary did several things wrong.
1. She stamped the signature page with her Notary seal but omitted Acknowledgment and/or Jurat certificate verbiage. She also omitted a Notary signature to accompany her notary seal which is illegal and she should be terminated if that was the case. It is hard to see what actually happened when you have an inconclusive video.

2. She attached a certificate that was to constitute page three, but that page three ended up missing. Your stamp can not be on page two when the certificate wording is on page three. Those legally have to be on the same page. If the stamp had been on page three where it was supposed to be, she wouldn’t be in a world of trouble.

3. I originally thought (because I prejudged the situation) that the Notary was in trouble because of her association with some dirty business. That was how her improper notarization was discovered, but not why she got in trouble. Interesting in any case.

You might also like:

Stormy Daniels accuses Notary of having intercourse with her
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20485

Penalties for Notary misconduct and fraud
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21315

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June 25, 2019

What is so critical about crossing out the he/she/they?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 12:17 pm

FAQ of the day

The he-she-they being filled out is important because if someone fraudulently adds a name to the certificate making the people involved a they and no longer a he or a she, then it makes it a lot easier to make sense of the “he said/she said/they said” that will ensue.

You might also like:

A Los Angeles detective seizes someone’s journal and complains about a blurry thumbprint.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22237

Penalties for notary misconduct
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21315

13 ways to get sued as a notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19614

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February 24, 2019

Can you become a Notary if you have a felony conviction?

Filed under: Public Interest — Tags: — admin @ 9:29 am

Can you become a Notary Public if you have a felony conviction?

As a general rule — no. However, if your state is liberal, and your crime was not of a nature involving moral turpitude or corruption, you might be given a chance. If you have a misdemeanor, you still might be denied a Notary commission, especially if your crime involved fraud, dishonesty or misconduct. People issuing Notary commissions are extremely cautious about issuing commissions to those who are not honest and those who are likely to commit fraud with their notary commission.

The reason for this caution is that if a Notary commits fraud, they might try to embezzle money or steal the title to someone’s house using their notary commission. This typically ends in long court cases, ten year jail sentences and the grief and complaints end up back at the agency who commissioned them in the first place. Although most Notaries are not the most honest people in town, at least they are not career criminals, and the various state’s secretary of states hope to keep it that way.

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February 21, 2019

How many years is a Notary commission good for?

How long does a notary commission last? How many years is my notary commission good for? How many years is my term of office as a notary public?

The answer is that it varies from state to state.

An Alabama Notary commission is good for 4 years

An Arizona notary commission is good for 4 years

Arkansas notaries are commissioned for 10 years.
A California notary commission is good for 4 years.

A Colorado Notary commission is good for 4 years
A Florida notary commission is good for 4 years
An Illinois notary commission is good for 4 years

Louisiana notaries are commissioned for life and have the hardest training program of any state.

A New Jersey Notary Commission is good for 5 years
A Pennsylvania notary commission is good for 4 years
A Texas notary commission is good for 4 years
A Washington state notary commission is good for 4 years

But, some states have an unusually short term of office for notaries like Delaware which is only a 2 year term of office.

Some states have a short term of office, while others have a longer one.
The majority of states have a four year term, but a few have a five, six, seven, or even longer term.

Our forum article below covers even more states and their lengths of notary terms of office.
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3955

Penalties for notary misconduct, fraud and failure of duty
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21315

How much does a Notary cost in 2019?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21308

Notary Public general information
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20075

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February 20, 2019

Notarizing Multi-Page Documents

Should a Notary notarize every page of a document? How can a Notary or signer safeguard themselves from someone swapping pages in a document after the notarization has taken place? You need answers! Here they are!

1. A Notary Public notarizes signatures on documents, not pages on documents. A particular page or pages might have notary certificates within a document. Or, a certificate could be stapled to the back of a document. Ideally that certificate should identify the corresponding document. If you have a ten page document, there will most likely only be one, and possibly two pages with notary wording.

2. A prudent Notary Public carries what is called an inkless embosser that leaves a raised seal impression. This is in ADDITION to having the legally required inked seal that is used with blank ink. The embosser can be used to emboss every single page in a notarized document. I did exactly that on everything I notarized even if there were 100 pages. I did this for safety reasons. I did not want people to get away with switching pages after the fact and dragging me into court as a result of someone else not liking the idea that a page was swapped.

3. If a signer swaps a page from a notarized document, and that page was embossed, they can still swap the page. However, it will not be legal, and it will be very obvious to the Notary Public if investigated that the new page was not part of the original notarization as the notary embosses all pages — if the notary indeed was the type of notary who embossed all pages — like me!

4. Some people initial all pages. Initialing is a type of precaution. But, initials can be forged easily, and it is sometimes not easy to tell if they were forged.

5. If a document had a page swapped, the staple and staple area in the pages might show evidence of tampering. The degree of evidence depends on how skillful the fraud was at swapping pages. Luckly in my career of 6000 Notary appointments I did not have this issue.

6. If you need to add a page to an already notarized document. What can you do? You have to notarize the entire document all over again. I had that happen. What a pain. The signer wasn’t happy. Sorry — just following the law!

.

You might also like:

Notarizing Multi-Page Documents 2011 edition
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1706

Sending loose certificates is illegal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2470

Penalties for misconduct, fraud and failure of duty
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21315

How often do Notaries end up in court?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19914

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