Thursday, June 16, 2011

Robosigning Notaries From Now-Defunct Georgia Foreclosure 'Sweatshop' Find Themselves In Local Clerk Of Court's Crosshairs Over Bogus 'Docx' Docs

In Fulton County, Georgia, WSB-TV Channel 2 reports:
  • Fulton County's clerk of court said homeowners from across the country have filed complaints questioning the credentials of notaries who signed their mortgage documents. Cathelene "Tina" Robinson said she's already revoked certifications from several of the notaries involved. "As a notary, your job is to prevent fraud," said Robinson, who commissions all of Fulton County's notaries.
  • The notary affixes his or her seal to a document to verify the signatures on it are authentic. But employees from at least one foreclosure mill said they were turning out documents by the thousands, signing names of fictitious bank representatives.
  • "It's awful. It's terrible. It should not have occurred," said Robinson. She vowed to investigate any claims of notaries misusing their seals. "Once the notary comes in, we do fact finding. We ask questions," she said.
  • In the past three months, Robinson has revoked the certifications of four notaries who worked for an Alpharetta company called Docx. The company is accused of robo-signing hundreds of thousands of foreclosure documents for banks around the country. Channel 2 investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer reviewed Robinson's files and found at least 10 remaining Docx notaries with remaining inquiries.
  • Last year, Robinson's office cleared three notaries of wrongdoing after they insisted they witnessed a valid signature. Robinson couldn't prove them wrong at the time, despite wild variations in the same name, Linda Green, signed on many of the documents.
  • Now Robinson is considering trying to pull all of the Docx documents filed locally to check out the notaries. One told Fleischer that Docx paid for her to become a notary.
  • Notaries are not required to list their employers on the application, and Georgia requires no training or test to become a notary. Robinson would like to see the state tighten its laws. "Anyone that has any concerns as it relates to any person Fulton County commissioned, I would be happy, please contact me so we can investigate," she said.
  • But all Robinson can do is revoke their notary seals. Any criminal prosecution would have to come from the district attorney. There is also an ongoing federal investigation.

For the story, see Official Vows To Investigate Notary Misuse Claims.