Real Estate Fraud on the rise via RON

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I’m really not understanding how this is done…whether it be Remote Online Notarization or a Notary hired by a Title co–who provides the docs & notary prints, meets w/signer & notarizes. Under normal circumstances, HOW does someone impersonate either a RON notary or one hired by TC. How would ‘impersonator’ even have the documents? It just seems to have some critical details missing about ‘impersonating a notary’.
Article says: * The criminal, posing as the property owner, refuses to sign closing documents in person and requests a remote notary signing.

  • The criminal or co-conspirator impersonates the notary and provides falsified documents to the title company or closing attorney.

This scheme usually requires two actors; the fake property owner and fake notary. Since this is done on line it’s easier to provide falsified documents. The key is to move quickly before either Title or Realtor has time to validate the real owner.

I was engaged to close on a set of trust documents for a young man and his girlfriend. I was able to determine these bad actors hired a Paralegal to draft the docs so the young man could gain access to his grandparents trust money/assets. The only reason I was able to catch this illegal transaction was my background as a Financial Crimes Investigator. I notified the local Constable’s office and worked with their detectives and the local DA to facilitate and arrest and indictment.

Most Notaries would have missed the subtleties I picked up on. It’s not that Notaries are that dumb, it’s the bad actors are getting better.


What was it that tipped you off?

California doesn’t even have RON, does it?

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My instincts told me to ask a few questions regarding this transaction. I asked the bad actor who were the players in this transaction. He then told me it involved his grandparents. I asked if they were also going to be present during signing. When he said no, that’s when I asked who drew up the documents. He stated his paralegal girlfriend. I know in Texas only an attorney can draft trust documents. This is the moment the jig was up. This is when I contacted LE and set up the signing engagement. I intentionally ‘damaged’ the notarial process so as to invalidate the signing making the document unrecordable. I did this in case he ‘escaped’ to the county records office before her could be arrested.

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Wow! Very cool! I’m sure that saved a lot of heartache for the elderly people.

why am I not surprised at all? I think we all knew that this would be a possibility. They need to go back to the good old fashioned way of giving us a phone call and paying us to do it in person :wink:

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