Donatucci seeks support for strengthening notary public seals

Legislation designed to help crackdown on fraud

HARRISBURG, June 10 – State Rep. Maria Donatucci announced she is seeking co-sponsors for her legislation that would crack down on an increasing problem in Philadelphia: home thefts through fraudulent property transfers.

“In many cases, homeowners who are in poor health or who don’t have any close family or friends fall victim to this illegal practice. They don’t realize that someone has transferred ownership of their property,” said Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware.

Donatucci said her legislation would help to prevent fraud cases by requiring companies or organizations that manufacture notary stamps to be licensed. The manufacturer would be assigned an identification number that would be included on the stamp to prove a legitimate, licensed company made it.

In addition, when a notary public begins their commission, they would receive a Certificate of Authorization they would use to purchase a stamp from a list of permitted, licensed manufacturers.

Donatucci stated this process would restrict unauthorized people from going to any store or online shop to have an illegal stamp made for themselves.

“These unscrupulous people are scheming with someone who isn’t a notary but was able to purchase a seal online. They work together to sign over the property without the true owner knowing that it is happening,” Donatucci said. “With my legislation, we would be taking proactive measures to stop this type of illegal activity.”

According to the Philadelphia Department of Records, home thefts through fraudulent property transfers increased by more than 70% in 2018 compared to previous years.