Notary Fraud Shaking Up B.C. Real Estate Transactions

british-28549_1280    In 2013, notary public Agatha Chung was hired to verify the documents in the refinancing of the mortgage of two British Columbia residents. However, Chung vanished with the money she received from this deal, combined with $8 million she had amassed from other instances of notary fraud, leaving the victims and the bank to bear the costs. The B.C. courts ruled that the mortgage lender, CIBC, would have to take on the loss because the funds were not yet transferred to the customers, though the documents were all notarized.

The real estate community is worried that cases of fraud by notaries are not being addressed to the full extent, and funding mortgages will be a challenge for lenders worried that the transactional parties may not be trustworthy. The Society of Notaries Public made no move to cover the money stolen by Chung, and lenders are considering eliminating any notary involvement in future transactions due to the occurrence of fraud.