Notary Bulletin

Notaries Removed From 'Sovereign Citizens' Lawsuit

Two upstate New York Notaries were dropped from a federal racketeering lawsuit after proving to the plaintiffs’ attorney that they were innocent pawns used by members of the so-called “sovereign citizens” movement to add legitimacy to their questionable documents through notarization.

The civil suit initially accused the Marbletown Town Clerk and a clerk for the Marbletown Assessor of aiding a racketeering plot by notarizing liens and other documents which falsely claimed that several local governments and employees owed the sovereign citizens billions of dollars. The pair convinced the plaintiffs’ attorney that, as Notaries, they were not responsible for the contents of the documents; their only duty was to verify the signatures.

In the past year, Notaries and government officials across the nation have reported a sharp increase in the number of requests from members of the anti-government sovereign citizens movement to notarize documents making strange, often outlandish claims. These documents have caused headaches for Notaries and government officials alike.

The suit — filed last April on behalf of Ulster County, several towns and government officials in upstate New York — seeks to stop harassment and attempted extortion by members of the sovereign citizens movement, the plaintiff’s attorney told the local media. The two Marbletown employees were named as defendants because they notarized demands for payments of up to $550 million dollars from local towns as well as a $2.82 billion lien against the county. It took seven months to convince the county’s attorney that they were innocent pawns.

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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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