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Stolen Notary IDs, Seals Used In Fraud Schemes

NNA 2007 Notary of the Year Joan Sampson and Ed Newsom, a long-time Notary and owner of a UPS store in Calabasas, California, both know what it’s like to have their Notary identities co-opted by scammers trying to commit fraud.

And they are not alone. A Glendale, California, man recently pleaded guilty to bilking $5 million from lenders using bogus documents that bore “forged and fraudulent signatures of Notaries,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

In another case, a San Diego, California, man will be spending the next 12 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to stealing the identities of several Notaries to forge hundreds of documents in a massive foreclosure scam.

Scammers aren’t just stealing the identities of Notaries. A recent FBI report noted that fraud perpetrators continue to “have a high level of access” to Notary seals and other tools and resources.

While there is little Notaries can do to keep scammers from forging their seals and signatures, both Sampson and Newsom said they used their journal records to prove they did not notarize the fraudulent documents. As a result, both avoided liability claims against them.

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