Notary Fraud Can Result in Void Documents

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By William Hudson

It is well known that the banks use false notarizations on foreclosure documents, affidavits, and assignments to create the illusion of ownership. The most typical variety of this problem occurs when a notary certifies that the person whose signature appears on a document really did sign it, even though the notary didn’t witness the signing.

 
Apparently, it isn’t enough that the loan servicers and their counsel digitally alter mortgage notes and assignments in order to create the appearance of standing, the banks are cultivating relationships with notaries to do their dirty work. There is a pattern emerging of notaries resorting to leaving spaces and boxes open on Affidavit jurats. It is likely that this is being done so that information can be inserted at a later time by the “lender” after the notarization of the document. It is illegal for a notary to notarize an affidavit and jurat that has blank spaces or boxes. Usually an affidavit will contain an “n/a” when a form has a blank space to indicate “not applicable.” A notary is also not allowed to notarize a jurat when the person does not show proper identification. According to most state laws a notarized document containing blank spaces is a void document.

 
Arizona private investor Kenneth McLeod of McLeod Investigations in Chandler, Arizona informed Livinglies that a year ago he complained to the Arizona Secretary of State Michelle Reagan about a notary that wouldn’t disclose her notary log as required, didn’t reply to a notary demand, failed to keep a current address and other violations. It may have taken the Secretary of State a year to look into his complaint, but she did respond, and discovered that when the notary signed and sealed the affidavit in question, she left boxes blank which made the notarization void. An affidavit is considered a true jurat (a document signed under oath) and therefore cannot contain ANY blank spaces. In this particular case, the notary was not prosecuted but received a six month suspension. The Secretary of State should be looking into other documents this notary signed as well as investigating if any homes were foreclosed on using documents that this unethical notary signed off on.

 
While the false notarization of documents is a criminal act in most states, very few notaries are charged or prosecuted. Typically a notary will invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in a foreclosure case if caught in the act and then maybe receive a brief suspension of their notary authorization instead of being prosecuted. Six months later the corrupt notary will be back notarizing documents.

 
McLeod noted that the Secretary of State and Arizona Attorney General looked deeper into the notary document to discover that the signer also failed to submit proof of proper identification. The Secretary didn’t draw further conclusions, but it would be fair to assume that the notary was swearing to land record documents that may not have been presented to her by the actual person whose signature she notarized. As we know in many foreclosure cases, notaries have been engaging in a practice of notarizing documents without the signer appearing in front of them, and allowing another person to sign legal documents for a person not present. Notary fraud is a big problem in foreclosure cases.

 
McLeod commented that documents that are signed UNDER OATH and then notarized later are another way to attack the foreclosure mills at their own game of forging documents and filing false documents. The foreclosure mill employees don’t tend to have a high-level of dedication to detail. Homeowners facing foreclosure should examine their own documents and look for blank spaces, signing issues or other notary inconsistencies. McLeod brought up the fact that a void jurat attached to a debt collection notice may also be in violation of the FDCPA.

 
There have been cases where it was found that an attorney did not sign the documents as certified and the judge dismissed the foreclosure. However, what happens when documents that are falsely notarized result in an illegal foreclosure? Should the sale be rescinded or the foreclosure allowed to stand? Should the notary be prosecuted for fraud?

 
There are cases being litigated where wrongful foreclosures resulted due to fraudulent notarizations. Homeowners who purchase foreclosed properties may be vulnerable if they purchased a home where a foreclosure mill engaged in notary fraud on the documents, and later if the previous homeowner discovers these errors and files suit. If the signer didn’t appear or sign the documents used to foreclose in front of the notary- the documents are VOID. Notaries have been implicated in attesting under oath that certain events occurred in order to legitimize improperly transferred notes and flawed mortgage documents. The notaries continue to violate the law because they know they will not be prosecuted for their wrong doing. Perhaps it is time to start suing the notaries that are knowingly notarizing false documents and failing to honor their oath.

 
Until criminal charges are filed against notaries, attorneys, banks and servicers, fraud will continue to taint the entire system. How many people have lost their home because of notary fraud that runs rampant in foreclosure mills? Don’t assume because a notary seal or signature looks authentic that it is. Request the notary’s log books for specific days and make sure that the person who claims to have signed your foreclosure documents is listed in the notary log book on that date.

 
Pull court dockets and investigate if the attorney whose signature was notarized could have appeared in front of the notary on the day they claimed to. There was an instance in Florida where a Notice of Default was notarized while the foreclosure mill attorney was on vacation in the Bahamas. If you can demonstrate that a document was not notarized according to law or contains blank spaces or boxes, that document can be shown to be void and cannot be used to foreclose. In light of this information, it would be wise to examine any notarized documents in your case. First, research if the person who notarized your loan or foreclosure documents is actually a licensed notary by contacting the Secretary of State where the notary resides. What you discover just might save your home.

 
Congratulations to Investigator McLeod and the Arizona Secretary of State for holding the notary accountable.

18 Responses

  1. Fraud notaries and Robo signers are illegal because fraud cannot be the basis of any clear title or any claim. Robo signed or fraudulently notarized documents are void as a matter of law and the FBI may need to step into investigation of such rampant practices.

  2. Fraud Notaries are all around LA. Keeps making headaches for genuine notaries in Los Angeles.

  3. This applies to debt collection agencies as well. They come up with questionable and dubious affidavits on which they get judgments. This is why 1 in 4 Americans are sought by debt collection agencies. Something needs to be done by our law makers.

  4. Had located numerous affidavits in the Commonwealth of MA. After 8 months of working with the State of Texas the Notary’s Commission has been revoked. She failed to provide copies from her notary journal, failed to respond to the Notary Complaints Section and failed to request hearing prior to her revocation. Unfortunately The State of Texas takes no legal action against these individuals. Most disturbing these affidavits are used in the foreclosures of properties here in MA which is a Non-Judicial State. I am more than happy to provide a copy of this revocation to help any homeowner to your office. At what point do our Elected Officials, Federal Agencies and Judges stop turning a blind eye to the criminal activity of these individuals?

  5. Talking about objectionable affidavits,

    Wherever, under any law of the United States or under any rule, regulation, order, or requirement made pursuant to law, any matter is required or permitted to be supported, evidenced, established, or proved by the sworn declaration, verification, certificate, statement, oath, or affidavit, in writing of the person making the same (other than a deposition, or an oath of office, or an oath required to be taken before a specified official other than a notary public), such matter may, with like force and effect, be supported, evidenced, established, or proved by the unsworn declaration, certificate, verification, or statement, in writing of such person which is subscribed by him, as true under penalty of perjury, and dated, in substantially the following form:

    (1) If executed without the United States: “I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date).
    (Signature)”.

    A credit card company got a judgement without “true and correct” statement in an affidavit in Rhode Island ! This is the state where lawyers say, judges are not giving favorable orders to homeowners when it comes to foreclosure defense.

    Our assignment of mortgage is advance dated when it was recorded at the town record keeping office. Are they proving there is something faster than speed of light ?

    Lawyers here say, we wont win this case in RI. Any help ?

  6. The Federal misprision of felony statute is usually only used in prosecutions against defendants who have a special duty to report a crime, such as a government official,lawyers,ag’s,etc,etc

  7. To me, it’s not class discrimination, it’s misprision of felony, and I’d have to try really hard to think of someone in government who’s not guilty of it.

    18 U.S. Code § 4 – Misprision of felony

    Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

    But wait! What’s that great sucking sound? It’s the sound of the Great Wealth Vacuum hoovering everything of value from all the people on Main Street, to the few on Wall Street and their minions on the Hill.

    More proof, as if there was a need:

    Wall Street Journal Analysis of Mortgage Settlements Shows Very Little Went to Wronged Borrowers

  8. As always thank you for our great post and work for all of us.

    In my case, the notary’s signature and my documents where forged and altered. In addition to that, the dates where changed and did not match the notary’s log book. This notary was provided for me by the bank. I know for a fact she did not alter these documents. She sent me a copy of part of her log book showing when and what she notarized. She made an affidavit stating someone had altered my deeds and her initials. She also noted that she writes out the month for example: (October, 15 2002). She also stated that she does not use numbers to indicate the date like (10 11 2002). They also changed the date to (10 11 2002) so that they would match this up with other documents. This would not have happened because I was only in front of the notary on October 15th 2002 and not October 11th 2002. To elaborate, we all signed the documents on the 15th not the 11th of October and her affidavit noted this. In the end the Judge did not care at all, even though all the people who signed the documents including the notary stated that someone had forged and altered the documents after notarization and without our knowledge or consent. The Judge said “Who cares what day it was signed, whether it was the 11 or 15th.” The district attorney and county clerk chose to do nothing, knowing full well that the documents were forged and altered documents the clerk and the district attorney did nothing. This is why I feel that we should all get together and go after the district attorneys and county recorders possibly in a class action lawsuit, for not doing their jobs and refusing to let us record an assignment of our rescission. To me this is class discrimination. Yet these same people will let banks file forged and altered documents. The Ventura courts and district attorneys seem to me to have been very corrupt and biased against Home owners. I hope this is changing and that true justice will prevail and they learn and practice what integrity and ethics are. I base these not on feelings this is based on facts and events having been done to me and others for years in Ventura County CA. This is also happened to me in Federal court in Los Angeles California.

    Sincerely, Peter Z 805 857 0375

  9. IN MASS IT WOULD BE THIS.

    MGL c.93A Regulation of Business Practices for Consumers’ Protection MGL c.176D Unfair Methods of Competition and Unfair and Deceptive Acts and .

  10. Let us not forget the Michigan notary who had her notary stamp & signature on foreclosure papers used for five weeks following a car accident–that left her in a coma those five weeks. (I believe she later died)

  11. Told my BK lawyer that I suspected fraud in my mortgage docs, because it was notarized out of my jurisdiction, and because my original docs had blank spaces but their version included my signature AND a differing Title Company, and lastly the name looks like a stamp, not an actual signature. He told me it was outside the BK and it was between me and Bank of America.

  12. Reblogged this on California Freelance Paralegal and commented:
    Great blog post by Neil Garfield discussing how notary fraud can result in void documents.

  13. My notary occupies a cot at the Graybar Hotel for fraud. So….someone was actually arrested during the Great Fraud Fiasco. Must’ve been an accident.

  14. Great blog post Mr. Garfield. I just want to point out that in the State of California you can sue a notary that breaks the law as the Unfair Competition Law (UCL) contained in Business and Professions Code section 17200, et seq. allows you to use the violation of any law, administrative, civil or criminal as a predicate for a UCL cause of action. The UCL allows you to sue any person or business that takes any fraudulent or unfair or unlawful action, any one of those three will do. You can recover attorney’s fees under the UCL if you prevail at the trial. I am not sure if Arizona has a similar statute or not but anyone in Arizona or any other State should research this issue as some states do have similar laws that may be called “Unfair Business Practices Act” or something like that.

  15. Security Connections out of Idaho (I believe) is all over my FRAUDclosure. Robosigned. Wrong dates. Post dated. Same names on assignments just switching their “position at bank” Etc. etc. etc.

  16. Ann Marie Bucci was the notary on mine and she has a contract with BOA to notarize foreclosure documents just check out her business profile in Pa,

  17. Neil, that’s just the tip of the iceberg on notary fraud.
    The Awful Awful Awful things they did to get those Notorial Stamps.

    Retired (Abused) Notary
    LuPuS
    Black Knight Out!!!

  18. Also, they don’t use the words “true and correct” in affidavits.

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