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Notary’s Journal Key Evidence In High-Profile Criminal Trial

Notary journal evidence in perjury case

Updated 11-30-16. A Notary working in the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office provided key evidence that helped convict her boss of perjury and several other charges. Prosecutors praised the Notary for her superior recordkeeping practices.

Kathleen Kane, who was elected Pennsylvania’s Attorney General in 2012, recently was sentenced to 10 to 23 months in prison after being convicted of nine counts of perjury, conspiracy and other charges, according to media reports.

Prosecutors claimed that Kane leaked information to the media about a 2009 grand jury investigation in an attempt to retaliate against a political rival, and then tried to cover it up. And the journal kept by a Notary in her office provided key evidence that helped make the case.

A Notary Speaks Up
 

Notary Wanda Scheib, a long-time administrative assistant in the Attorney General’s office, became involved when Kane testified before a grand jury in 2014 that she never signed secrecy oaths that required her to keep confidential information about state grand jury investigations occurring prior to her term in office.

But Scheib had notarized Kane’s secrecy oaths and duly recorded them in her journal — called a register of notarial acts in Pennsylvania — which she kept in a filing cabinet in her office. Pennsylvania Notaries are required to record all notarial acts.

“While this was an unusual situation, it demonstrates the value of a Notary’s journal,” said Bill Anderson, the NNA’s Vice President of Government Affairs. “By recording the details of every notarization, the Notary can prove that the notarization took place, and they did everything properly.” 

During the trial, Scheib testified that she struggled for several days over what to do. She worried about what might happen if she spoke up. She finally consulted a trusted co-worker, who helped her turn over the information to prosecutors.

That led investigators to the signed oaths. Prosecutor Michelle Henry said investigators may never have discovered the signed oaths without Scheib’s help.

“She does the hardest thing,” Henry is quoted by pennlivecom. “She picks up a phone and tells someone.”

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor of member publications for the National Notary Association.

 

 

3 Comments

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Lisa

22 Aug 2016

Interesting news

Jamie Liggins

06 Dec 2016

This shows why it is HIGHLY IMPORTANT to keep an accurate journal, even if your state laws do not require it. You are there to protect the interest of the signer which by extension covers the public and the notary!

Mary

12 Dec 2016

As a Pennsylvania resident, and fellow notary, I appreciate that Wanda came forward with the information. I'm sure it was difficult to be put in that situation. Bravo!

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