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New Mexico Governor Establishes New Unit To Handle Notary Misconduct Investigations

Moving quickly to respond to the need to investigate notarial misconduct, including handling administrative hearings, with a more hands-on approach for the state’s 32,000 Notaries, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has issued an Executive Order that establishes a new “Notary Compliance and Enforcement Unit.”

Governor Martinez’s efforts in recognizing the critical issues regarding Notary problems in her state moves New Mexico into the national spotlight. The Notary Compliance and Enforcement Unit — a division of the state’s Regulation and Licensing Department (RLD) — was organized inside the RLD using existing resources to ensure that Notary Public fraud is investigated with urgency, and that the proper consequences are administered, Governor Martinez said in a statement.

The Unit will now receive complaints against Notaries directly from the Secretary of State, carry out the required investigations and administrative proceedings, and report all findings to the office of the Governor — the only entity responsible for officially revoking a Notary commission. Complaints that also involve criminal allegations will be forwarded to an appropriate law enforcement agency.

“Given the Governor’s responsibility to ensure the proper use of Notary Public commissions, it makes far more sense for the investigation of wrongdoing to be handled by the Regulation and Licensing Department – an entity under the control of the Office of the Governor,” Governor Martinez said in her statement. Martinez will work closely with the state’s Attorney General’s office, who previously handled all Notary misconduct investigations.

According to the statement, Governor Martinez issued the Executive Order following an Attorney General’s investigation into Notary misconduct that experienced significant delay. The New Mexico Notary in question allegedly performed illegal notarizations for a heroin trafficking ring and helped 29 people obtain fraudulent driver’s licenses.

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