Delray Beach, FL asked in Legal Malpractice, Contracts, Identity Theft and White Collar Crime for Florida


Someone has been financially gaining by using a different name on documentation which has been notarized (as required to be valid and binding) but, the name does not match the legal name or initial on the FL ID. For example: the person's name is "Tom Smith Jones" (First, Middle and Last) but they are signing "Tom Smith-Jones" and also conducting other business in their legal name. The FL ID (in this example) indicates "J" on the ID for "Jones".

I have contacted the Notary Bonding Company and the Attorney General's Office and they say that it fraud as using a hyphenated name requires a Court Ordered Name Change. They further stated that the notary and/or the individual could have opted for an AKA Statement or a Signature Affidavit or a Fictitious Name Filing with the State of Florida; none of which exist for this individual.

Q: are the notary signatures and contracts invalid (unenforceable)? Do I have a claim for fraud as the bonding company will not honor the notary?

2 Lawyer Answers
Charles M.  Baron
Charles M. Baron
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Hollywood, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: To answer that question, a review of all relevant documents and communications would be required because notarization is not normally needed to create an enforceable contract. So the issue is whether the faulty notarization makes a difference, as opposed it being irrelevant because of having a binding contract with an individual whose identity is known, with signatures that bind without notarization. A related issue is whether the type of contract you have requires witnesses in order to be valid - a separate issue from notarization.

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard
  • Freeeport, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: You asked a similar question, which I just answered, having to do with service by publication. If the bonding company is refusing to honor the bond, prove that the same person signed it by deposing the notary, if necessary.

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