New Michigan Anti-Fraud Laws Send Warning To Notaries, Businesses: Accountability And Penalties Increasing
The National Notary Association Offers Comprehensive Support For Notaries, Supervisors To Reduce Liability Risk
The National Notary Association informs Michigan Notaries and employers that, effective January 1, 2012, a package of eight new state laws establish severe penalties for improper or illegal notarizations related to the mortgage lending process.
The laws significantly increase accountability for Notaries, as well as the pressure on employers to ensure their Notaries follow legal and ethical practices. To help businesses and Notaries comply and protect themselves, the NNA is implementing a comprehensive suite of support services in Michigan including the Trusted Notary Protection program designed specifically for Notaries, and the Notary Supervisor Training program geared toward employers.
“These new laws underscore the importance of proper notarization in protecting the public, companies, and Notaries from severe losses and legal exposure resulting from real estate fraud,” said National Notary Association CEO Marc Reiser. “It’s essential that businesses train their Notary-employees to follow state law and employ best practices to prevent mistakes that can lead to costly legal problems.”
Michigan’s tough anti-fraud laws come on the heels of increasing instances of real property fraud, and continuing revelations of forgery and illegal document processes in the “robo-signing” crisis. The “robo-signing” crisis alone has resulted in criminal and civil actions taken against Notaries, their employers and major financial institutions, most recently in Nevada and Massachusetts.
Michigan’s laws give the state the authority to prosecute individuals and businesses that deliberately falsify documents and notarizations in real property transactions, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a $500,000 fine for each violation. One bill — Senate Bill 252 — makes it a felony to intentionally violate state Notary laws when notarizing documents involving real property or a mortgage transaction, punishable by up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
The Michigan Trusted Notary Protection program includes essential Notary classes, training, insurance, support and the benefits of NNA membership — including access to the NNA Notary Hotline. The Notary Supervisor Training program instructs supervisors and employers how to competently manage Notary-employees according to state laws, rules and sound policies and procedures. For more information, visit the National Notary Association’s website.
About the National Notary Association
Established in 1957, the National Notary Association (NNA) is the nation’s largest, most active Notary community, and the leading professional authority dedicated to educating, serving, and advocating for the nation’s 4.8 million Notaries. The NNA imparts comprehensive notarial knowledge and understanding, promotes a positive public perception of the Notary office, and bolsters consumer protection by promoting best practices. The Association’s accredited professional programs, services, and model legislation help Notaries advance their careers and serve the American public with the highest level of professionalism and ethics. To learn more, visit us at NationalNotary.org.