Notary Bulletin

California Case Demonstrates Upswing In Notary Seal Forgeries, underscores Importance Of Journal Evidence

An Upland, California, man is facing multiple counts of forgery and real estate fraud after a local Notary reported to authorities that her seal and signature had been forged on a grant deed, the San Bernardino District Attorney’s office announced. The case is the latest in a string of fraud investigations to uncover the use of forged Notary seals.

Investigators allege the man was part of a real estate fraud ring operating in Southern California since 2006. The charges against the suspect involve grant deeds that were forged in 2008.

While there is little Notaries can do to prevent someone from copying their seal and signature from publicly filed documents, such as grant deeds, Notaries in many of these cases protected themselves by maintaining a complete record of their notarial acts. A complete and well-maintained journal can show investigators and juries that a Notary did not perform the notarizations on fraudulent documents.

Notaries often do not find out that their seals have been compromised until a legal claim is filed against them. In such cases, Notaries may incur considerable costs to clear their names, and many have found that their E&O insurance offers effective protection from the financial impact of defending themselves.

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Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts

Notaries perform many different duties for the public — and it’s easy to lose track of the different acts and what states they’re authorized in. Test your familiarity with common — and uncommon — notarial acts.

(A link to the correct answers is provided at the end of the quiz.)

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