In Orlando, Fla., television news station WFTV Action 9 recently reported on the number of notary errors that occurs in Orange County.
According to the report, a woman blames a notary for a phony will that helped someone steal her father’s estate. Sally Baptiste claims her father’s caregivers created a phony will and other documents to steal his Orange County home after his death. Baptiste blames a notary for helping – or at least failing to do her job.
“She is apparently notarizing stuff without even looking at it,” said Baptiste. She said the signature on the will was fraudulent because the day it was notarized was the day her father couldn’t sign anything. He was in the intensive care unit of a hospital.
The notary refused to answer Action 9’s questions. The caregivers, Timothy and Sherry Griffin, were charged with fraud and grand theft for trying to steal the Baptiste mobile home with fraudulent documents. Baptiste said the notary made this possible.
Action 9 checked the state’s latest count and found there are nearly 400,000 notaries in Florida and hundreds of complaints filed with the state, but only one full-time worker in the governor’s executive office who handles complaints.
According to the state, there are about 50 complaints filed per month.
The state did find the notary had failed to properly notarize the will and her commission was suspended.
Baptiste claimed that the notary’s suspension happened after months of her calls and complaints to the state.
The governor’s office told Action 9 that it handled Baptiste’s complaint right away, but any investigation takes time. It also said the state’s one full-time notary employee is backed up by other legal staff, if needed.