New York City will pay $25,000 each to settle an alleged fraud complaint filed against the New York Notary Office, the city attorney’s office announced Monday.
A lawyer for the city, Daniel Rosenfeld, said the settlement includes $25 million for the office and $25.5 million for its employees, and it’s expected to be completed by early 2019.
In a statement, the attorney general’s office said that the office “has been subject to a wide range of fraudulent and deceptive conduct over the past two decades,” including a $5 million fraud investigation launched in 2012.
The Notary is an appointed public servant whose role is to act as the only legal representative for the public in matters of notary and trust, the office said in a statement.
The office was accused of fraudulently representing the city in several cases in 2015 and 2016, Rosenfeld said in his statement.
In the 2016 case, Rosenfield said the Notary’s office was required to act on behalf of the city and not the city of New York, which the office allegedly did.
The city attorney, Robert Morgenthau, also was accused in the 2016 investigation, but Morgenthauer has denied wrongdoing, the statement said.
The settlement, which Rosenfeld called “a victory for transparency and accountability,” is a “positive step toward ensuring that New Yorkers can trust the notary’s actions,” the statement added.
In 2016, the Notaries Office was accused by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of lying to the state of New Jersey to get a loan to fund an expansion of the office’s building, according to the attorney for the New Jersey office, John Vercetti.
Schneiderman said Schneiderman and the attorney representing the state sought the loan because the New Yorkers office was too expensive and lacked enough staff, according in a press release.
Schnecker’s office has denied any wrongdoing.