Maryland removes six notaries from office in foreclosure probe
The Maryland Secretary of State removed six notaries from office as part of an investigation into the national robo-signing foreclosure scandal. Three of the notaries were employed with the law firm of Covahey, Boozer, Devan, and the other three were with the firm of Bierman, Geesing, Ward & Wood, according to the secretary of state. It was not immediately known if they are still current employees of the firms. Howard Bierman, one of the partners in the law offices of Bierman, Geesing, Ward & Wood told HousingWire that he could not comment on the de-commissioning. Messages were also left with two principals in the Covahey, Boozer, Devan firm. Rick Morris, director of Charities/Legal Services with the Maryland Secretary of State said the notaries are alleged to have notarized documents without witnessing the signatures, checking for identification or keeping a registration of their notarizations. That issue has become key in the widening investigations involving potential foreclosure fraud. On Wednesday, all 50 attorneys general said they'd work together to investigate lenders who filed fraudulent affidavits in foreclosure cases, but the financial services lobby has contended that some of the hoopla over potential problems have been overblown. In Maryland, Morris said none of the six requested a hearing on the accusations, which is why their commissions were immediately revoked. One was removed from office in early October, two were deposed in September, and three were ousted from their posts in August, according to Morris. At least one had been a notary for more than 10 years and others had from three to nine years of being commissioned. Write to Kerry Curry.