Canadian Notary Runs Off with Over One Million in Mortgage Funds
President of the Society, John Eastwood, said he learned in late March of the possible irregularities in some client files tied to Agatha Chung. The investigation is still in its early stages, but Eastwood said it appears Chung took over seven figures worth of funds from lenders with the understanding that they money would be used to pay off mortgages. She failed to provide this service.
According to investigators, Chung is suspected to be in Hong Kong. Since the scandal broke, the Society has appointed Vancouver notary Joan Letendre to take over Chung’s practice. Meanwhile, the Society of Notaries Public B.C. have called in forensic accountants and alerted the Vancouver police department’s financial crimes division about the incident.
Eastwood assured concerned parties that this sort of malfeasance among B.C notaries is extremely rare. The last incident similar in scope to this one occurred 28 years ago.
Differences Between Canadian and American Notaries Public
In B.C. Canada, the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia regulates notaries. The society is the overseeing body and is responsible for setting standards to maintain public confidence in the office of notary public. Additionally, the Society has an insurance fund for its notaries to protect those who have been subjected to ‘misappropriation or wrongful conversion’ of funds. This fund has a similar function to typical American notary requirement of a bond or E&O insurance.
B.C. notaries have a much wider job description than notaries in the United States. In B.C. Canada, notaries are allowed to dispense legal advice and draft public instruments including notarizations, real estate law, wills and estate planning, and contract law. Canadian notaries can be best compared to American notaries in the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and some others where the notary must be a license attorney in the state.
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