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Notaries Questioned During Foreclosure Claims Investigation

Recently released HUD documents reveal that scores of Notaries were called on for questioning in connection with the mortgage foreclosure practices investigation which led to the recent National Mortgage Settlement.

The reports — issued by HUD’s Office of Inspector General — detail how employees of the five banks involved in the Settlement were questioned about topics including document execution processes, dubious affidavit signing and an unusually high volume of daily notarizations. The investigation found that management routinely encouraged workers to notarize document signatures verifying the banks right to foreclose without checking the legality and veracity of the documents.

In many cases covered in the reports, banks did not want the government to talk to their employees and tried to deter their efforts. Amidst systemic misconduct, the possibility for individual Notaries being called in for questioning in connection with fraudulent practices always looms. To prepare Notaries, the NNA offers resources like the Recommended Notary Practices, designed to aid them in complying with laws and preventing fraud.

The reports indicate that senior management had a responsibility to implement policies that safeguarded the integrity of the notarial act. The reports also point to a general lack of training for bank employees.

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