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March 3, 2015

I was Forged

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , , — admin @ 8:12 am

I was Forged
I receive an email, supposedly from Germany. I was asked to verify that I did the notarization on a Will and an Affidavit of Claim. The sender included PDF copies of the two documents. They were hilarious forgeries. The signatures of my name as Notary on the Will, and as Commissioner for Oaths were not even close. Oddly, the first letter of my last name was signed with a lower case “e”, not a capital “E”. I replied that the documents were not signed by me.

The “notarization” of the will did not include an image of my notary stamp. In NY it’s required to either type or print the notary information under the signature. Also, notaries who are not attorneys are not allowed to notarize the signature of the person who the will is for. The will had my name as also notarizing the witnesses. Each name in the notary section was written with a different handwriting. An image of the seal of New York State was copied onto each document, presumably to replace a proper notary seal. It was a mess.

New York City does have a Commissioner of Deeds office, similar to the much more useful statewide Notary function. However, the forger replaced “Deeds” with “Oaths” – clearly this was not the work of a dedicated professional. The amount involved was in the tens of millions, in US dollars. Even stranger: these were to be used to settle in a German court. Usually, US notarized documents bound for other countries receive an Apostille; but it was not present. Of course it could not be. Part of the Apostille issuing procedure (in NY) includes notary signature verification.

So much for the actual forgery; I thought my reply ended my involvement. However, the next email from Germany raised the alarm bells. I was asked if the named beneficiary to the Will was “a fraud” and if the Affidavit of Claim was a fake. Now I was being asked IMHO a legal question. The second reply was very carefully worded. “The determination of fraud and fake are issues to be determined by the courts”. You never really know who is sending the email and if they have a hidden agenda. Write emails in such a manner that they can’t be used against you in litigation.

US currency is designed to thwart counterfeiting. But, if the recipient does not make an effort to examine the cash; even the most inept efforts are successful. In a similar manner, the recipient of a notarization should make some effort to verify its authenticity. An attachment issued by the NY State County Clerks, the Authentication; specifically mentions the signature being verified. Their form is “overstamped” after being affixed to my notarization. The issue of a “cut and paste” of a valid notaries signature onto a document fails under close examination. It might “look good” but a crime lab will find toner not ink in that signature.

As my name is “out there” on the internet it was easy for the person in Germany to obtain my email address. I can only wonder how many other forgeries are out there. Thankfully the forgery was legible and that gave access to me. Which is worse? An illegible signature that does not “point” to the notary, or a clear one that specifically spells your name? Perhaps the legibility was to permit the recipient to “look me up” to verify I was really a notary. What can be done to stop this abuse? Nothing I can think of. Sticking to my registered signature, using stamp and embosser (always) makes it easy to spot a forgery. If you have actually had to appear in court to contest a forgery please leave a comment detailing your experiences.

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October 1, 2012

New Jersey Commissioner of Deeds – Information

New Jersey Commissioner of Deeds – Information and History

The title of Commissioner of Deeds was established in the 19th century because only a judge could acknowledge an out-of-state deed, and it was difficult to find a judge to acknowledge a deed for a property located outside of the state. At this time, property deeds could be acknowledged only by a notary belonging to a particular state, New Jersey, for example, and a deed for a property from another state could not be acknowledged by a notary from New Jersey. The office of Commissioner of Deeds might thus be seen as a higher rank than a notary.  When states came to accept the acts of notaries from other states, the office of Commissioner of Deeds was no longer needed.
 
In New Jersey, the person is sometimes called a Foreign Commissioner of Deeds because he could acknowledge even deeds to property outside of the U.S.  These days, the Department of State strongly suggests that Secretaries of State not appoint commissioners of deeds to perform acts in a foreign country until it is made clear, with the Department’s help, that the foreign government would not object. In other words, the office of Commissioner of Deeds is outmoded.  There is no evidence that the State of New Jersey is still appointing Commissioners of Deeds, and no information on how to apply for such a position; the neighboring State of New York is no longer appointing such Commissioners.

Please see our New Jersey Notary Public Search Results!

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April 11, 2012

New Hampshire Commissioner of Deeds Information

New Hampshire Commissioner of Deeds Information

The State of New Hampshire, a congenial state, still appoints Commissioners of Deeds for a fee of $75 for a 5-year commission.  The application can be done online and is submitted to the Governor and Executive Council.  In 4-6 weeks, you will recieve your appointment and will need to sign and take your oath before a judge, who will then sign your commission.  When your oath is returned and filed, you will be able to act as a Commissioner of Deeds.  In other words, you will have the right to:

  • administer oaths in New Hampshire and elsewhere for documents to be used in New Hampshire
  • take depositions and affidavits
  • take acknowledgments on deeds and instruments

It is recommended that you use an official seal, even though New Hampshire state law does not require it.   The Commisioner of Deeds may charge a fee of $10 for each witness, oath, or certifications, and may charge between $5 and $50 for depositions.  The general requirement is that you be a resident of the State of New Hampshire; no minimum age is given, but it is assumed to be at least 18, as for a notary.  The Secretary of State website information is clear and simple, and also includes an online handbook–at least for Notaries.

Please visit our New Hampshire Notary Public Search Results!

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October 14, 2010

New Hampshire notary public eccentric rules

New Hampshire Notary Public eccentric laws.

Introduction
A notary public in New Hampshire has different possibilities than a notary in most other states. The rules for a New Hampshire notary are different and its interesting to learn about. New Hampshire notaries can become a justice of the peace, or commissioner of deeds in addition to having normal notary capabilities.

Justice of the peace
Anybody who wishes to apply to become a Justice of the peace must be a resident of New Hampshire and have been a registered voter in New Hampshire for at least 3 years before the date of the application. The applicant must sign a written statement with an accompaning oath as to whether or not they have ever been convicted by a crime that has not been annulled by a court, other than a minor traffic violation. Two justices of the peace and one registered voter of New Hampshire must endorse the application for appointment. The applicant also needs to complete a State Police records check form. There is a $75 fee for a five-year commission.

Become a notary, justice, or commissioner in NH
To become a New Hampshire notary public or New Hampshire justice of the peace or New Hampshire commissioner of deeds, you apply to the Secretary of state’s office — state house, room 204, Concord, NH 03301 or email to elections@sos.state.nh.us

The term of a New Hampshire justice of the peace is five years from the date that the Governer and Council confirms your appointment. The new New Hampshire justice of the peace must sign and take their oath of office in the presence of two Notaries public or justices of the peace, or one notary public and one justice of the peace. Then, the oath must be returned to the secretary of state’s office as soon as possible. The recently appointed New Hampshire justice of the peace should keep their commission in their records. Additionally, an index card must be signed and returned to the superior court of the county in which the person resides.

Justice of the peace – capacities
A New Hampshire Justice of the Peace has some capacities similar to a New Hampshire notary. Both designations allow the officer to do acknowledgments, but do not require an official seal when doing so. However, the state recommends using an official seal when performing duties specific to a New Hampshire Justice of the Peace.

In addition to acknowledgments, a New Hampshire justice of the peace can do all the same acts as a regular New Hampshire notary public such as Oaths, Affirmations, Jurats, Depositions, Copy certifications, and Protests.

The two special acts that a justice of the peace can do that notaries in most states can not do are: officially witnessing signatures and performing marriages. Florida notaries can also perform marriages with a special designation.

New Hampshire Commissioner of deeds
The powers of a New Hampshire commissioner of deeds are actually less than those of a New Hampshire notary or justice of the peace. The commissioner of deeds can administer oaths BOTH IN AND OUT OF New Hampshire, for documents that will be used in New Hampshire. They can take depositiosn and affidavits, plus acknowledgments. However, the NH Secretary of State’s website gives no accounting of whether they can do Jurats, Protests, Copy certifications, or other typical New Hampshire notary acts.

New Hampshire notary public application
If you are at least 18, and a resident of NH, you can apply to the secretary of state in NH to become a New Hampshire notary public. There is a $75 fee, and the commission is good for five years. Please visit http://www.sos.nh.gov/notary.html for more details.

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