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September 2, 2013

Notary Perjury and Oaths

Notary Perjury

What is Notary perjury? Is that when a notary lies under Oath or when an Affiant lies under Oath to a Notary Public or other state official? In real life there is no such thing as Notary perjury — there is only regular perjury. Don’t get caught lying under Oath — tell the truth!

Penalty of perjury
If you swear under Oath to a Notary Public, you have made a solemn Oath under the penalty of perjury. Lying under Oath is a Felony and Federal crime punishable by jail time of up to five years. The problem is that Notary Oaths are not always very clear. The Notary might have you swear to a document, but what are you actually swearing to? Are you swearing that the document is true, or that you will follow the terms in the document, or both?

What types of things do people lie about?
People might lie about what their legal name is. Sometimes people want to use an alias. Sometimes the name a person has on the Title of a property might not exactly match the name on their identification document which could cause a lot of confusion and legal issues. Another common lie that I might have been told for years (no evidence either way) is on the Occupancy Affidavit. Borrowers can get a discounted interest rate if they claim to live in the building (house) they are borrowing on. The Occupancy Affidavit makes that borrowers swear that they are residing in the property as their primary residence. But, it is common for borrowers to lie and be using the property as an investment property or second home — an example of “Notary perjury”.

People don’t always take the Oath seriously
My biggest objection to being a notary was that people didn’t take Oaths seriously. I sometimes had to ask people multiple times to raise their right hand all the way up — no, not two inches up — all the way up. Mumbling an inaudible “yes” just doesn’t cut it with me. I think that as a Notary Public, you should remind your Affiants of how serious and formal the Oath actually is. I would also tend to think that your Oath takers will be more likely to tell the truth if they are aware of how serious an Oath is and if they are aware of how they could be subject to penalties of perjury should they lie. I have never heard of anyone being punished for lying under Oath to a notary. I have only heard of people getting in trouble for fraud. But, keep people honest in any case! Being a Notary Public is a serious profession that protects the integrity of signatures and society!

You might also like:

Can a Notary get in trouble?

Penalties for notary misconduct and fraud

When are you required by law to give Oaths as a Notary?



  1. One essential item in my Notarial briefcase is a Bible. I always take it out and lay it on the table with my other Notarial supplies and, at the appropriate time, ask the affiant “Can you swear an oath on a Bible, or do you prefer an affirmation?” In administering the oath or affirmation, I raise my right arm to the square and have the affiant do the same, and I speak the words clearly while looking the affiant in the eyes.
    (All of that is no guarantee against the affiant’s committing perjury, but it does serve to let the affiant know that an oath/affirmation is serious business.)

    Comment by Clifton Palmer McLendon — September 5, 2013 @ 9:19 pm

  2. I have copies of my husband’s signature where he lied under oath to a notary, saying that he was a single man. Where do I take this information to record it? Do I take it to an attorney, or directly to the Bar Association?

    Comment by Lynn Smith — November 2, 2020 @ 4:18 am

  3. I have copies of my husband’s signed copy where he swore under oath to a Notary. It was not just a little lie. I would like to know where I take this document. I don’t have an attorney, so do I take it or send it to the Bar Association?

    Comment by Lynn Smith — November 2, 2020 @ 4:25 am

  4. Someone forged my email response with her and swore under oath to a Notary in NY to noterize it; then she used it as evident in court to sue another person. Where should I do to repot it? FBI? or NY state department? Thanks!

    Comment by Chris — January 5, 2021 @ 4:15 am

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