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Notary Bulletin

Florida Notaries In Hot Water For Violating Personal Appearance Requirement

Improper notarization can lead to severe liability issues for Notaries, as illustrated in a case involving two Florida Notaries accused of improperly notarizing 30 quitclaim deeds for a known business contact who allegedly used the fraudulent deeds to transfer properties— including his own 8,000 square-foot residence — from unwitting owners to his own company.

According to a detective at the Palm Beach County Sheriff Office, the Notaries admitted to notarizing the deeds without having the real property owners named in the documents appear before them, but held they had no knowledge of the fraud scheme.

Ironically, the notarized deeds, which contained the Notaries’ names and commission numbers, provided key evidence that helped investigators identify the individual as the suspect, who was charged with one count of organized fraud.

Though no criminal charges have been filed against the Notaries yet, their misconduct was reported to the state and they could face administrative penalties such as commission revocation—serving as a reminder to Notaries to insist on personal appearance, to recognize when an act is improper, and to know how to say “no.” For more information or guidance, consult the NNA’s Recommended Notary Practices.

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