Patricia Lint made many mistakes in her more than 40 years as a notary.
Those mistakes cost the western Pennsylvania woman her freedom. In 2006, police discovered her notary commission had expired and her seal had been confiscated by the Department of State. Yet she continued to pass herself off as a commissioned Pennsylvania notary, going so far as to use notary seals from other people.
Lint was sentenced to one to two years in prison.
The jail time stems from her inability to repay PennDOT $81,766 in vehicle service fees she failed to remit to PennDOT and $25,000 in bad checks she wrote to them. In addition, Lint violated several Pennsylvania Notary Public Laws, including Pa.C.S. §4913 (impersonating a notary public). She also refused to stop notarizing documents after the Secretary of the Commonwealth revoked her commission. This act alone could have resulted in a fine up to $300 or imprisonment as long as 90 days, or both.
What are you supposed to do if your commission expires in the middle of the application process? Put your seal and your register away in a secure place.
Receiving a letter of approval from the Secretary of State does not mean that you may begin notarizing.
The Notary Public Law requires that you appear before the recorder of deeds to record your bond and take the oath of office to be considered a commissioned notary. You must appear within 45 days of being appointed or your commission will be declared null and void and you’ll have to start the application process over again. Remember to register your signature with the prothonotary as well. This step is also required by law. If you live in Allegheny County, you must also register your signature with the clerk of courts.
Give yourself at least six months to complete the necessary reappointment procedures. If your commission expires before you are reappointed, don’t touch that seal.