Legal Professionals Section
April 2014 Issue
Content is updated daily

Is Robo-Signing Taking Place In Your Workplace?

While the mortgage industry has cracked down on “robo-signing” involving foreclosure documents, accusations of unethical document signings and notarizations continue to impact law firms and other businesses. A large Florida law firm is facing multiple lawsuitsafter accusations of improper conduct. Another firm closedwhen its head attorney was suspended. And a national debt collection agency recently agreed to a $500,000 settlementwith the Minnesota Attorney General’s office over claims of improper document processing and notarization practices.

But what constitutes “robo-signing” and is it going on in your workplace? Read on to learn more about “robo-signing” practices — and always refuse to participate in improper notarial acts if asked. “Robo-signing” refers to the improper signing and notarization of large numbers of documents and typically involves practices that violate state law and notarial best practices. Examples of “robo-signing” can include any of the following unethical requests:

  • Requests to notarize signatures on large numbers of documents without the signers being present before the Notary
  • Notarizing multiple signatures without obtaining satisfactory proof of the signer’s identity
  • Completing and affixing a seal to a jurat without administering an oath or affirmation to the signer
  • Allowing someone else to use your notarial seal in order to notarize large numbers of documents quickly
  • Notarizing documents signed by someone fraudulently using another person’s name

All of the above practices are violations of notarial ethics and can result in criminal charges or civil lawsuits against a Notary who cooperates with “robo-signings.” Never agree to any act that violates your state’s notarial laws or essential notarial procedures, even if asked to do so by an employer. In fact, employers have been prosecutedfor encouraging employees to commit “robo-signing” and perform illegal notarizations.

Key Points:

  • “Robo-signing” practices have surfaced in law firms and businesses as well as banks and mortgage lenders
  • “Robo-signing” can involve different types of improper practices involving Notaries
  • Notaries should never participate in any type of “robo-signing” even if directed to do so by an employer
© 2014 National Notary Association. All rights reserved . Privacy Statement . Copyright Statement
National Notary Foundation . Returns . About Us . Contact Us . Feedback