Saturday, January 31, 2015

Mortgage Professor is going to change this. Thanks for your feedback.

Really want your feedback on this one!
The Mortgage Professor advises through his column in the Fresno Bee that a notary signing agent should be reported to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  (At least that's what is sounds like he is saying!)
First, let me say that I am a huge fan of Jack Guttentag who calls himself the Mortgage Professor. I want to formulate a note to Dr. Guttentag to discuss with him why it is unlikely that the notary is at fault here.  As you will read, Dr. Guttentag suggests that a borrower contact the CFPB and complain.  Ultimately, that translates into a borrower complaining about a notary signing agent.
From the Fresno Bee.
Q: I refinanced a mortgage I had with Lender A through Lender B - or rather I thought I did. All the requirements were met, the closing was executed at my home by a notary, to whom I gave a check for $418. But several weeks later I discovered that the old loan had not been paid off. Despite numerous phone calls, I was not able to get an explanation from anyone at Lender B, except that the last person I spoke to there told me that the refinance would have to be done over ... What should I do?
A: What you shouldn't do is refinance again with Lender B. What you should do is to contact the notary agent and request the $418 be returned immediately. In addition, write a letter of complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and whatever state agency regulates mortgage banks in your state. You could sue B but it would be difficult to establish damages and probably is not worth doing.
Jack Guttentag is professor emeritus of finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. 

Read more here:

"Notary" isn't a Proper Noun

Readers, if  you like this story, read more about this subject at the AAN's  link.

According to The Associated Press Stylebook 2014 and U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual, the phrase "notary public" is a civil title; it isn't a proper noun or a title that should be capitalized.

Other words that should not be capitalized simply because they relate to a notary's duties are notarize, affidavit, affirm, oath, notary signing agent, and notarial, to name a few.

When should you capitalize notary public?
SOURCE:  U.S. GPO Style Manual

If "notary public" is being used as a proper title it would be appropriate to capitalize the words.

Ned Smith
Ned Smith, Florida Notary Public

Ned Smith
Ned Smith
State of Texas, Notary Public

When the word "notary" begins a sentence, it must be capitalized.  Also, if the words "notary public" are being used in the title of a document, book, chapter/section, form, manuscript, or other types of publications, it would be appropriate to capitalize them. For instance:

  • How to be a Fashionable Notary Public
  • Notaries Public Go Mobile! 
  • Chapter 5 - Becoming a Notary Public
  • Ten Strategies for Notaries

Don't take my word for it!  You can put your google talents to work and probably find more sources than I have.  Credible sources that quickly arose to the top of the heap to back up my claims are the Iowa Code Style ManualThe Associated Press Stylebook, and the U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual.  Note that below in a screenshot from The AP Stylebook, only references to Webster's New World College are capitalized.  That's because it is incorrect to randomly capitalize nouns or words related to the duties of notaries public.

SOURCE: The AP Stylebook via

Until next time!

I did a notary! I got my notary! (and other ways to abuse the word "notary")

"I did a notary!"

If you are like me, this is like fingernails scraping on a chalkboard:
  • A notary is a human being; a notarization is an act performed by a notary.  
  • Doing a notarization is performing a notarial act. 
  • Doing a notary, on the other hand,  may make readers think of killing a notary as in "doing him in" and other things unrelated to notarial acts.
Please, notaries...try to professionalize your language.

You'll never hear a lawyer say "I got my lawyer!"  or "I did a lawyer today!!"

Well... you might hear that-- "I did a lawyer today!" It means they screwed another lawyer, either figuratively or literally.

Notary Impersonator (Indiana)

A Belle Vernon man falsely claimed to be a licensed car dealer from Indiana after he had gone out of business and fraudulently sold a car online, police said.

Robert William Richards, 50, was charged by state police in Greensburg with seven counts each of tampering with public records and impersonating a notary public and one count of application for certificate of title by agent.

Read more:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Huh? Community leader makes a big notary boo boo (Wisconsin)

Read it all here:  Ex-Cedarburg mayor faces charges in helping daughter beat drinking ticket

If someone you trust (your daughter, for instance) saw a signer execute a document, it won't hurt to fudge a little and notarize it, right?   
NO.  Think again!!

A former mayor of Cedarburg has been charged with two felony counts of misconduct in office.

The mayor's legal trouble has nothing to do with old mayoral duties, or even his more recent role as a member of the city's plan commission.

According to the criminal complaint, he notarized two statements his daughter obtained last year to try to beat an underage drinking citation from 2013. Her trial on that ticket is scheduled for this month.

Since neither of the signers appeared, it's become a huge problem for this Wisconsin notary public.

P.S. Thank you, Marian, for bringing this one up on NotaryRotary!

Proposed Law Update: Oklahoma Notaries - Senate Bill 173 (Absentee ballots)

Summary: An Act relating to notaries public; amending Section 1, Chapter 26, O.S.L. 2012, as amended by Section 1, Chapter 347, O.S.L. 2014 (26 O.S. Supp. 2014, Section 14-108.1), which relates to absentee ballots and affidavits; removing maximum limit for certain notarial acts; and providing an effective date.  See relevant part below:

 A notary public shall maintain a log of all absentee ballot affidavits that he or she notarizes for a period of at least two (2) years after the date of the election.
  A notary public shall be authorized to notarize a maximum of twenty absentee ballot affidavits for a single election. Provided, a notary public may be authorized to notarize more than twenty absentee ballot affidavits with the written approval of the secretary of the county election board.  


Monday, January 12, 2015

Headline: "...Bitcoin network be used as an ultrasecure notary service?"

Everyone wants a piece of that notary pie!
Brenda, NNNews

"Manuel Araoz, a 23-year-old developer in Argentina, has an idea for Bitcoin that doesn't focus on money. 
Araoz, who works in game development, launched a service this week called Proof of Existence. It's essentially a notary public service on the Internet, an inexpensive way of using Bitcoin's distributed computing power to allow people to verify that a document existed at a certain point in time."


Questions about becoming a notary?

Looking for notary newsletters?

My favorite source: 
The American Association of Notaries, Inc. (AAN) is a respected notary association, notary educator/trainer, and vendor of notary insurance, bonds, and supplies.The AAN publishes notary law updates, and educational newsletters.  It has served notaries nationwide for over 20 years.  

Friday, January 9, 2015

Monday, January 5, 2015

Document Cheat Sheet for New Notary Signing Agents

Good evening - I remember when I started as a signing agent, there were no ready references. I was desperate to have a stack of loan documents to practice with.  When I got into a position to help new notaries have such a tool, I created one.  
Enjoy!  Brenda, NNNews Curator

Document Cheat Sheet for New Notary Signing Agents

You will need to become familiar with common documents before you start your career as a signing agent. Practice is the best way to gain confidence in presenting loan document to borrowers.
Obviously, you will need a stack of practice loan documents. As you have probably learned, finding a set of sample loan documents is not easy. We have located a couple of sources to share. Check the links below. (Links can become non-existent overnight, so if you want to save the documents for future use, you should do so fairly soon.)  READ THE LIST ----> HERE

The AAN's monthly newsletter is free 

and full of quality notary and business tips.

If you don't already receive it, sign up right here!

Create Marketing videos from any plain-text article (Nails it!)

NNNews Readers - I want to share an exciting marketing trick with you. 

I thought that videos like these would cost thousands of dollars to produce. Today, I found out that you can do these for free! As I perused LinkedIn, I saw a post by Sergio Musetti (notary colleague) sharing the news of a marketing tool that sounded too good to be true. It impressed me enough that I watched an entire video.

Here is why I am intrigued:

I won't need a camera, images, or
a lot of creative talent 
to issue an important message or to make an 
impressive marketing video brochure.

Best part? 
It takes only minutes!

Thanks, Sergio!

Have a nice evening.  
Brenda, NNNews Curator

Prepare now for Minnesota Responsible Contractor Law

Why do notaries want to read this?  
Here's the notary pull quote from the article.  If you are interested, follow the links below:

Employ One or More Notaries 
Because all verifications must be under oath, contractors and subcontractors will need ready access to a notary public. The best way is to have one or more notaries in the office. Notaries, however, cannot e-notarize an electronic bid without an E-Notarization Authorization Certificate. Applications for E-Notarization must be submitted to the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. 


Stinson Leonard Street LLP
Robert J. Huber
December 19 2014

Contractors should prepare for Minnesota's Responsible Contractor Law, which will apply to most bid solicitations for state and local construction contracts in Minnesota issued after December 31, 2015. The law will apply to all publicly-owned and publicly-financed low-bid and best-value contracts over $50,000. 

Contractors will be ineligible for public contracts and subcontracts unless they meet the new minimum bidding criteria imposed by the law. They must be currently registered and insured; and they must be free of specified violations of wage and hour laws and affirmative-action requirements for the previous three years. (Violations before June 3, 2014, however, do not count.) Any future failure to meet the criteria will effectively be a three-year debarment from public projects, which can be a death penalty for contractors who rely on public projects. 

Contractors should take specific steps prepare for this law.  READ IT ALL

$383 million in unclaimed property State treasurer [NC] maintains search site, database

Notaries may be seeing a few extra notarial requests in North Carolina.  
(State of NC, Unclaimed Property Fund is trying to get the word out.)
Happy NNN reading!  Brenda

If you are strapped for cash this new year after all that holiday shopping you might want to check out the N.C. Unclaimed Property Fund. The fund helps reunite owners with their unclaimed property that officials say have been abandoned for one to five years. And it’s easy as one click to find out if you or your agency or business has any part of the $383 million in unclaimed property in North Carolina. 


 There are several simple steps, 

including signing the claim form 

in the presence of a notary public. 


"As a public service, the state makes an effort to reunite consumers with property that have become unclaimed because the company loses track of the consumer, due to an incorrect address or other missing information,” said Brad Young, spokesperson for the N.C. Office of the State Treasurer. Young said by law these types of funds are turned over to the Department of State Treasurer for safekeeping.  READ IT ALL HERE.

SOURCE:  By Olivia Neeley Times Staff Writer

Ever feel like you are in this notary adventure 
all alone? You aren't. Contact the 
questions regarding how to become a notary 
or how to perform your notary duties..
All questions welcome!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Notaries should never form opinions about the signer's business [a joke with meaning]

Today's treasure hunt for news has produced few results thus far. I did run across a joke involving a notary public and thought it made a good point, as well as added a little humor to the day.

There is more truth than humorous poetry buried in these words. 

Happy Sunday NNN reading!  Brenda

Here's your joke:
Old Jerry was on his death bed. It looked imminent. He asked for his wife and three sons to come and be by his side. And he asked that they have a notary public come in, as he wanted to divvy things up properly among the boys. The notary came in, ready to record and certify, and they got down to business.

"Mike, you take those two apartment buildings over by the lake. Those are yours," the old man said. The notary thought, "Oh, my, what a bequest; what a lucky son."
"John," the old man whispered. "That new development — those condos — 36 units in all ... that's what I'm leaving you." Again, the notary, was duly impressed.
"Kelly, I want you to have the residential properties in between. That's 43 homes you'll inherit."

The notary was so impressed he couldn't stand it anymore and offered his congratulations to the old man on being so successful. "I would have never guessed, from the way you live here, that you own so many properties to leave to your children."
The wife leaned over, "Uhhh ... he's talking about his paper route."

SOURCE:  Steve Miller, AD 

Ever feel like you are in this notary adventure 
all alone?  You aren't.  Contact the 
questions regarding how to become a notary 
or how to perform your notary duties..
All questions welcome!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

NotaryCam Launches Veteran’s Day ‘Help A Hero’ Program

If you don't think this will effect your might want to take another look.  Just because your state isn't allowing notaries to do it does not mean that the notarizations aren't valid in your state.


From now until Tuesday, November 11, 2014, NotaryCam, Inc. will honor those who have served by offering complimentary NotaryCam’s to all United States Veterans and service members

ALEXANDRIA, VA, November 4, 2014, NotaryCam, Inc. announces its 2nd Annual Help A Hero initiative. From now until Tuesday, November 11, 2014, NotaryCam, Inc. will honor those who have served by offering free NotaryCam’s to all United States veterans and service members.


NotaryCam’s enterprise- grade platform has helped thousands of companies and individuals get documents notarized online from anywhere in the world, at any time, by a network of certified, license ed notaries. For more information or to make a donation to a hero please visit NotaryCam right now:


California Disclaimer Notary Stamp $17.95 Senate Bill No. 1050 +++Effective 1/1/2015+++

Effective 1/1/2015, California notaries must add a legible notice enclosed in a box at the top of each notarial certificate to be completed. Senate Bill 1050 requires this special notice to be added:
"A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document.”

This self-inking California notary stamp complies with Senate Bill 1050 that amended Sections 1189 and 1195 of the Civil Code and Section 8202 of the Government Code (effective 1/1/2015).   Here to purchase:

Members of the AAN can purchase these stamps for $17.95!

Special Edition: Starting and Running a Notary Business (From the AAN's Archive)

Want to start a mobile notary business or improve business practices and marketing strategies in a business you have already established?

Quick peek at what's in this article:
100+ great marketing tips
Writing a Plan for a Notary Business
Beating the Bushes for Business Clients

The American Association of Notaries has incorporated the answers to many questions that we have received recently into three powerful business articles. Those considering starting a notary business, as well as established business owners, will benefit from this month’s first edition of the emailed newsletter. 


Did you like what you read?

Sign up for the AAN's 
free emailed newsletters 
for notary marketing tips 
and how-to articles.  

Source:  American Association of Notaries
SPECIAL EDITION:  Starting and Running a Notary Business

“Show me the note” claims find new life in recent Arizona decision (Important info!)

Date:  February 11, 2014
Author:  Gregory J. Marshall and Daniel W. Huitink, Snell & Wilmer LLP

Important to notaries because...This case is about problems with mortgage loan documents--the notarial certificate contributed to the court's decision. 

“Show me the note” claims find new life in recent Arizona decision

The pull quote below is the part that is most important to notaries.

...Steinberger alleged that the notary on the deed of trust assignment “did not personally witness” the signature and rather notarized the document six weeks later. Of course, notaries do not need to witness signatures for them to be valid under Arizona law. Das v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 2012 WL 1658718, at *2 (D. Ariz. May 11, 2012) (“A notary need not actually witness a signature or ask for photo identification for the notarization to be effective.”); Nichols v. Bosco, et al., 2011 WL 814916, at *4 (D. Ariz. Mar. 4, 2011) (“Arizona law does not require a notary to actually witness a signature.”). Nonetheless, the Court of Appeals found that allegations such as these have the capacity to “seriously undermine the validity of the title transfers” if proven true.
Read the entire article here.

New York appeals court clarifies law on out-of-state affidavits

Published Nov. 1, 2014
Author:  BuckleySandler LLP

Why is this news? This New York Appellate Court decision uphead an affidavit involved in a foreclosure.  The jurat was executed by an Oklahoma notary public (in Oklahoma).  There was no issue with the notary, the issue at hand related to with whether the Oklahoma certificate met the criteria of New York's property laws.  Just between us, I thought that issue was cleared up some time ago.  Would love to get input from notaries on this for The Notary Digest.  Enjoy the news!  Brenda

New York appeals court clarifies law on out-of-state affidavits 

Recently, the New York Appellate Division held an affidavit supporting an Oklahoma bank’s motion to foreclose a New York mortgage conformed to New York statutory requirements. An affidavit acknowledged out of state must be accompanied by a certificate of conformity under N.Y. Civil Practice Law and Rules §2309(c), providing that an oath taken outside New York is treated as if taken in New York if accompanied by a certificate required to entitle a deed to be recorded in New York. Oaths acknowledged outside New York by non-New York notaries require a certificate of conformity in substantially the form set out in Real Property Law §309-b. Here, an affidavit of the holder’s senior foreclosure litigation specialist established the mortgage, the default and assignment of the mortgage. It was accompanied by a “Uniform, All Purpose Certificate of Acknowledgment” which substantially conformed to Real Property Law §309-b. The borrowers did not oppose the motion to foreclose; the holder was therefore entitled to judgment. Midfirst Bank v. Agho, 991 N.Y.S.2d 623 (Aug. 13, 2014).

To read the ruling, go here.

Technology Picks - Notary Journal Errors - Apostilles - Interview with Hugh Nations

Good morning, NNN Readers - Mainstream media news for notaries is slow today...start your morning learning a few new tech tips and finding out about notary journal errors and how to avoid them.  You'll also learn how apostilles are used by criminals.  Don't miss the timely and timeless words of wisdom by retired attorney Hugh Nations. 

All of these stories were handpicked from from one of the best issues of the AAN's Notary Digest.

AAN is on Google+ - Find more stories here. 

HERE'S A GLIMPSE to get you started:


The electronic age was supposed to give us more time and less work, but it seems like the opposite has occurred! These websites may give you  
electronic solutions to common time-devouring issues.
Do you need to write a letter, but don’t have a stamp and envelope? Or maybe your printer eats envelopes and you don’t have time to deal with it?
Writing a letter to a client, non-paying client, or your mom has never been easier.

For a few dollars, send clients personalized greeting cards that they will notice.

This site has a stockpile of customizable cards for all business and personal occasions. (Warning: Once you get started, it may be hard to

 Moon Pig  
Is there a shelf in your office full of gadgets that you’ve replaced with newer models? Sure, you’ve been meaning to donate them to charity, but now you can sell the gadget painlessly and send the cash later. Save yourself a trip!

Check out these sites if you want to get quick money for charities, your college kid, or to pay down a credit card.

Need a way to sign up with a site temporarily, but don’t want to receive spam forever after? Maybe this site can help.  

10 Minute Email
Do you groan when the phone rings on the weekend? Are your parents, aunts, cousins, and grandparents calling you every Sunday afternoon 
begging you to “quickly” help them figure out a computer problem?

 If you can’t tell them no, ignore the pleading emails, and mute the rings of repetitious phone calls, you may be able to handle these family computer problems faster using an app in Google Chrome. If the link below does not work, the beta remote tool can be located by doing a quick search

Google Chrome Remote Beta
Are you trying to rebrand your business? Do you need something to freshen up the look of your website? The logos and other items produced by the sites below can spice up the look of your website. Save time and create it from your own desktop.

Create Funny Logo

Site Pal Virtual Hosts

Other topics for great notary reading in this issue of the Digest: 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Notary humor - New Year's Resolution

Stolen from the AAN's Facebook feed.  

Click on the image to visit the AAN on Facebook!

Notary's Fraud Causes Legal Immigrant 10 years in Purgatory

Muller Renterias recently finished serving a 10-year immigration penalty thanks to a Florida notary public who took his $2,000 in 2004 and didn't bother to mention that to Renterias that he*** was NOT an attorney. 

The notary's immigration crime impacted a family of 19 and plunged them into despair and separation for ten years.

Quoted from the story:

A notary in Florida with a nice office and a $2,000 cash fee promised to file the paperwork, the couple said.

When they moved to South Carolina, however, the family hired a Hilton Head Island attorney, who learned the notary did not finish the job and that the Muller Renterias were on a deportation list.


[***Note:  I am assuming the notary was a man; the article doesn't indicate.}

Notary in Mass ordered to stop engaging in unauthorized practice of immigration law

Barahona is commissioned as a notary public, but he is not a licensed attorney, as he represented to numerous residents, or an “Accredited Representative,” a special designation given by the federal government to a small number of non-lawyers who have knowledge and experience in immigration law and are permitted to represent clients in immigration proceedings. - See more at:“We allege this defendant engaged in widespread fraudulent conduct and preyed upon vulnerable residents of Massachusetts,” Coakley said. “The unauthorized practice of law, particularly when it concerns immigration matters, not only causes significant economic harm, but also places unsuspecting consumers at risk.”
A Massachusetts notary is accused of misrepresenting himself to those seeking immigration assistance. Those who do that are, in my opinion, the dregs of notary society. 

Happy reading!
Brenda, your NNN Curator

Waltham man ordered to stop engaging 

in unauthorized practice of immigration law

Barahona is commissioned as a notary public, but he is not a licensed attorney, as he represented to numerous residents, or an “Accredited Representative,” a special designation given by the federal government to a small number of non-lawyers who have knowledge and experience in immigration law and are permitted to represent clients in immigration proceedings.

Read the full story here.

Lincoln (MI) rethinks notary fees

It will be interesting to see how this pans out.  It will be the first notary fee structure that I am aware of to be based on residency of a township.

Happy reading!

 Brenda, your NNN Curator

Herald Palladium - Thursday, December 11, 2014 5:00 am

By ANDREW LERSTEN - HP Staff Writer | 0 comments

STEVENSVILLE - Lincoln Township officials are studying whether the township should start charging fees for its notary services.

Clerk Stacy Loar-Porter proposed that residents be charged $1 while non-residents would be charged $5. She said she obtained a legal opinion stating the township could not just charge non-residents for the service.

She also said she surveyed other area communities and found about half of them do charge for notary services.


The Case of a Texas Notary and the Real Estate Cat Burglar

We are interested in this story from the Dallas Morning News entitled "Did Fonteno abuses constitute fraud?" because of the notary's involvement, but at the center of this tale is Douglas T. "Chase" Fonteno, a fellow who fancies himself to be a  "real estate cat burglar."   The picture and caption below are directly from the article.

"The house at 6702 Grady Niblo Road, in far southwestern Dallas, was the focal point of a court struggle between Douglas T. “Chase” Fonteno’s organization and a couple seeking to recoup losses from an adverse possession house that Fonteno had sold them."
When you read the story, you will find that Fonteno is accused of recording flurries of real estate documents--make that notarized real estate documents--to steal properties.  He has been sentenced to prison for felony securities fraud in another case.  I am not clear if he's locked up or still out.  
About the involved notary:
The article in the Dallas Morning News says that the notary on the document is [Name has been redacted***see note below], who works at the Inwood Road offices of Topletz Investments.  Fonteno has used those offices and her notary services frequently.
Texas notary laws require notaries to keep journals describing notarial acts performed on all documents they notarize, including notations of how they identified the individuals signing the documents.  The notary has refused the request of the Dallas Morning News to have a look at her journals, she said she doesn’t keep such logs because her services are almost exclusively for personnel working in her office. The article states, 
"[Name has been redacted]said that if someone from outside the office asked for notary services, she would require a photo ID. Shown the document, [Name has been redacted] said she doesn't recall notarizing Mark Watson’s signature.
'I have looked at this document in detail and have absolutely no knowledge of signing this document,' she said. 'This is just not correct.'"
Well, [Name has been redacted], the bad news is that you are required to keep a journal and this shows you why the smart guys in Austin thinks you need to.  Also, if the Dallas Morning News is so inclined, they can file a complaint against Ms. [Name has been redacted]  for not complying with their request.  (Notary records are public records.)
Another article published recently stated that the Texas Secretary of State is looking into the notary's behavior.  

SOURCE:  Tod Robberson, DALLAS MORNING NEWS (Dec. 16, 2014)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Seven Secrets for Notary Business Success


Most questions that we receive through our Facebook page relate to starting a notary business. If you need help jumpstarting your business, you are going to love this no-nonsense special edition of The Notary Digest. Today, you will learn profit strategies that signing service companies and notary signing agent class trainers won’t tell you!

■ Secret #1 It’s not all glamour.
Before we go forward, it is only fair to tell you that there is a dirty little secret about starting and running a notary business, one that you won’t learn from companies that derive the bulk of their income through selling notary signing agent training courses and certifications.
The competition is stiff and it takes time to build a business. However, there are ways to get started and start profiting so that you are in a better position to choose good clients and negotiate better fees, but it will take patience and planning.

Still interested? Fantastic! Let’s move on.


Source:  AAN - Notary Digest 2013

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