A Big Notary No-No

A mobile notary failed to have an Occupancy Affidavit signed by the borrower. The escrow officer gave the mobile notary the affidavit and asked her to go back to the borrower to have it signed. Instead of returning to the borrower’s residence to have the document signed, the notary signed it herself!

James S., an escrow officer from one of our sister branches, requested a mobile notary from Bancserv to perform a signing at a borrower’s residence. The transaction was a $610,000 refinance that involved the signing of many loan documents. The notary assigned to the case was Kimberly G.

Kimberly performed the signing and promptly returned the documents to James. James reviewed the documents while packaging them to return to the lender. During his review he found an unsigned Occupancy Affidavit and sent it to Kimberly with instructions to return to the borrower’s residence to have it signed. Kimberly apologized for her oversight and agreed to have the affidavit signed.

Anything to Meet the Deadline…

Kimberly later faxed a copy of the signed and notarized affidavit to James in an attempt to help meet the rate lock deadline. Apparently, she didn’t have time to get it signed the previous night when James originally made the request and had to fax it to him the following day to expedite funding.

“Unbeknownst to Kimberly, she had just forged the signature of a superior court judge as well as his wife’s!”

James reviewed the affidavit and recognized it as a clear forgery. The borrowers were a married couple and their signatures on the affidavit looked nothing like the signatures on the other loan documents. Unbeknownst to Kimberly, she had just forged the signature of a superior court judge as well as his wife’s!

The Real Signatures Were Obtained

James ordered another notary from Bancserv and had the affidavit signed by the real borrowers. Then he went one step further and contacted his escrow administrator who reported the incident to Bancserv. The management team at Bancserv immediately removed Kimberly from its list of registered notaries and reported the incident to the Secretary of State, the regulator of notaries.

When the swift acting management team at Bancserv questioned Kimberly about her actions she claimed it was always her intent to get the true signatures before sending the original document and that she even went as far as to call the borrower for an appointment the evening after the forged document was faxed. Of course at that point another notary had already been assigned.

Then the administrator notified the Company’s field compliance team who promptly removed Kimberly from the Company’s approved notary list.

Integrity Was Rewarded

For James’ attention to detail and for not turning a blind eye to the forgery, the Company has rewarded him. His detection of the forgery was nothing short of heroic, and the fact that he had the fortitude to do something about it to save the Company from a future claim is impressive. We all know it would have been easier and faster to accept the affidavit and forward it on to the lender, but he didn’t. The Company admires James for his integrity.

Questions or comments? Please share below!

One Response to A Big Notary No-No
  1. Rebecca Rogers
    June 25, 2013 | 3:37 pm

    Kudos to James. As a notary all I have is my credibility, honesty and work ethic. Unfortunately one bad apple can and does spoil the bunch.

    Good going James! No excuse for laziness or pride getting in the way of doing your job correctly.

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