Fake Notaries: The Weak Link of Each State

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Editor’s Note: All across the country we are discovering that robo-signing and forgery of notarizations have enabled the pretender lenders to assure the court that they own the debt, note and mortgage or deed of trust. Complaints to the state agencies regulating notaries have resulted in a net loss to borrowers. In Arizona, several notaries were suspended or had their licenses revoked only to have them reinstated a short time later. Lending your notary stamp or stealing a notary stamp without the consent of the notary are both subject to administrative and criminal prosecution.

The reason why the notarizations are going nowhere is, I think, purely political. But there is a misconception about finding a fake notarization without finding that the signature that was notarized was also without authorization or was also forged.

The failure to get a proper notarization (like where the signatory signed in Florida and the notary was in Texas), does NOT invalidate the document itself. In most states where I have read the law it only effects the ability to record the document. So if you know about the document and it wasn’t properly notarized so it couldn’t be recorded, you can still be held to have notice of it and it may well be binding on your client even if it was forged. without more, the attack on the notary seems like a technicality to get out of a legitimate debt.

It is at best an add-on to other claims in which you pray the court will enter an order that removes the nullifies the recording of the offending document from the public records. That won’t get you very far since you obviously have notice of the document’s existence. So you need to attack the document itself and even there, Judges are very reluctant to enter orders granting relief where the borrower has essentially admitted the debt, note, mortgage and the default. How would you like it if you loaned money to someone for real and then were prevented from collection because of some minor technicality? It’s a windfall for the borrower.

This is why I encourage people to start with the money trail instead of the documentary trail. The documentary trail tells a story ABOUT a transaction which is presumed to be true especially if your client’s signature is on it. But the money trail reveals what SHOULD be on the documentary trail and it is by reference to transactions that were real, where money exchanged hands, that you can say that the documents upon which the other side places reliance are wrong.

Tactically the pretenders lenders are relying on the documentary trail. Don’t go there. It’s a trap. Go for the real transactions in which money is supposed to have changed hands. Then you can ask in discovery two alternative lines of questioning: explain why the documentary trail does not reflect the actual money trial and where are the receipts and disbursements (cancelled checks and wire transfer receipts) to support your documentary trail?

The last items that closes the book on them is to show that there was no privity or authorization for them to take the consideration from an independent third party transaction and apply it to their documents.

I can’t take my neighbor’s auto loan and say that proves he owes me money. I have to actually loan him the money and if his documents say that he borrowed money from a finance company, then THEY have to show the same thing I do — that they really loaned the money or really bought the loan with cash. If neither of us can prove we paid anything then the fact that he got money as a coincidence with our paperwork is not going to help either the finance company or me. It must be presumed that the money came from someone else, resulting in voiding the purported transactions and allowing for whoever actually parted with money to come forward and stake his claim.

So fake notarizations are indeed a bad thing and that should be cause for concern in the property records of each county where title is supposed to be recorded. But wasting your time on that attack is not likely to produce much in the way of results in the form of real relief for your client.

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