Fraudulant transactions anyone?

This post is strictly for those who have experienced a TRUE fraudulent transaction from a client?

What were the transaction details?
What threw up the “red flags”?
How was it proven to be fraudulent?
What was the outcome?

Lets help out the notary community in preventing such practices going forward by sharing our experiences!

Are you asking about transactions that you spotted to be potentially fraudulent BEFORE you engaged in notarizing the documents, or ones that you notarized and that were prosecuted as fraudulent AFTER the fact?

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MO: our job is to help prevent fraud. So if a notary knowingly notarized a fraudulent deal so he or she can keep the signing fee, that notary should just start packing for court trips, possibly pay fines or jail time.

I guess if an NSA is aware of notarizing for a fraudulent client, that NSA definitely got some explaining to do.

Had a loan signing for a ‘single’ lady. When I arrived, she introduced me to her husband and tried to give me literally the photo half of an old drivers license as ID.
Another time, had 1 sister try to be the ‘signing’ sister and convince me that Jane L was Janet M’s nickname.
Left without signing in both cases and, oddly, hiring party was not happy.

VA owner-occupied refi. Met at home involved in refi (which had barely any furniture), signed, notarized and as I’m leaving, they casually mention that they’ve bought another home, have moved & will be renting newly refi’d ‘owner-occupied’ home tomorrow. Left with signed docs, notified hiring party of what occurred, they wanted the docs. No idea of outcome…

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This is a general question, as I have seen several posts with notaries “claiming” fraudulent activity without the above details in their post in the questions I posted. Some claim fraud simply by reading an email or receiving a check to give to the borrower (as examples).
I thought it would be beneficial for those to share their “actual and proven” fraud experiences as a notary to not only help others identify such “fraud or scams,” but also to prevent them from giving up work because they don’t have the knowledge and/or experience as to what to look for to come up with a definitive determination on a fraudulent or “scamming” transaction. But to answer your question, I am more interested in the BEFORE, (basically what suspicions did you have, based on what, that kept you from proceeding with a transaction? But AFTER scenarios can definitely help to paint the picture of what I’m looking for.
Thanks!

Had a closing where a young man was trying to gain access to a Trust that was set up by his grand parents. During our discussion the young man explained that a friend, who’s a Paralegal, drafted the documents. Texas considers this UPOL. I asked him to forward the documents so I could prepare for the signing. I also contacted the local Law Enforcement Officials to inform them what was happening. Long story short both the young man and paralegal are now making new friends in a Texas Jail. His grand parents were grateful this was caught before the nefarious deed could be carried out.

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Wow - nice catch and action @RiverpointeTax !!

Perfect example of the benefit of knowing your state laws! Kudos

It felt good being able to dust off my skills I learned as a Financial Crimes Investigator to protect the interest of a retired couple.

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Been there many times the most recent was a guy that called me directly to have a sellers package signed (first red flag) as normally the title company helps find the notary, he said he told them he preferred to find his own notary. Ok, I’ll bite…We set a time and place, I told him what I would need from him, docs ahead of time, photo ID matching the documents, and approx. 30 minutes of his time.

I showed up, he showed up 10 minutes late and I spent a few minutes examining his docs all of which were prepared by a professional title company in Id. that I had dealt with before…One thing caught my eye and that was docs were asking for Guy’s Name SR. to sign, I asked for his ID and noticed his ID showed JR. not SR. as docs were drawn. (Red Flag). I asked for an explanation, he shared a obviously prepared speech about the discrepancy (Red Flag). I said that I would need to call the escrow officer for her input, he balked about me calling something like “oh leave them alone they are busy busy people and I promised I wouldn’t bother them any more…” (HUGE RED FLAG).

I told him I couldn’t notarize his signature as his name on his ID has to match the docs exactly there can’t be anything that doesn’t match and JR vs SR is an issue. He argued, he offered more MONEY (MASSIVE RED FLAG). I declined, He asked for his deposit back, I declined telling him that I told him during the initial phone call that ID would have to match exactly as docs are drawn I was very specific because he went by Jerry but docs were Gerald. He argued some more and got loud in the coffee shop so everyone could hear him, threatened me with calling the cops, but would leave the cops out of it if I just notarized the docs and moved on, I declined and got up to leave, he begged me to stay and offered even more money $500 cash. I knew at that time he was doing something shady and I wasn’t going to be part of it, I thanked him for his time and left the building…Went to my car, called the title company and sure enough JR was trying to sell SR’s ranch in ID. for a nice 7 figure sales price to a CASH buyer from outside ID…I got off the phone with title, called the other local notaries warning them about this guy, and then I called our Police Dept. and turned it in, I never even heard from the police. I found out later from the escrow that he did find a notary at a UPS store and she did notarize the docs and he tried turning them in but escrow knew by then it was a fraudulent transaction and refused to close.

Listen to your gut, pay attention to the details, double check everything, and report anything to anyone that needs to know. (the UPS employee lost her commission)

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Outstanding. Good Catch. I wonder what kind of trouble te UPS Notary will face, if any.

Because the transaction was never processed the only thing the SOS could do is take away her commission. They are also trying to create a better training system to make sure that hobby notaries and professional notaries are aware of the rules and laws and standard operating procedures.

Just curious on a minor thing: Do you actually get paid for GNW in 2 payments? Your travel fee is paid…upon arrival? via Paypal or some such?
And then collect your notary fee later? Cash? Check? some other way?

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I bet you that the trust has now been devolved. After all they can no longer “trust” (see what i did there… lol) him :rofl: :joy: :laughing:

I’m considering prepayment on all GNW work that’s not part of my regular clients.

On my order page, I let them know that a deposit may be required to book the appointment. I have only implimented that once as I had a longer than my usual distance to travel.

I itemized my services, they pay all after notarization, I have 3 merchant processors depending on the price of transactions. If I officiant a wedding; they prepay before the day of marriage online I also make them sign a contract for marriage (explaining refunds, rescheduling, change of venue etc)

Wow! Nice catch. Yes, the Jrs. and Srs. are easy to miss if you’re not paying attention.

If I were suspicious of a signer, I might very well say something like dcaldwell said just to extract myself from the situation safely. But I wouldn’t believe it.

The law in my state is the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, and the 2021 version is about to go into effect. The Final Acts (with comments) has the following comment on page 17:

Identification of an individual based on an identification credential requires some flexibility. For example, it is not uncommon that an individual’s name as used in a record may be a full name, including a full middle name; however, the name of the individual as provided on the identification credential may only use a middle initial or none at all. The inconsistency may be vice versa instead. The notarial officer should recognize these common inconsistencies when performing the identification of an individual. However, if a notarial officer is ultimately uncertain about the identity of the individual, the notarial officer should refuse to perform the notarial act (see Section 8.)

In a different situation from dcaldwell’s, I might go along with a deed that says Jr and an ID that doesn’t have a suffix, since lots of juniors don’t have their suffix put on their license. Then again, if the deed said Sr and the license said Sr, but the deed says the property was purchased in 1963 and the birth date on the license was 1997, no way.

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Thanks for the feedback. I try to explain to others that this is what the Patriot Act form is for. To note name discrepancies and let the lender/title decide how they want to proceed on such. Minor name discrepancies are rarely a “deal killer” based on your post. Thanks!