A Bossier Parish jury has found Michael David Cox, 70, guilty of three counts of the crime of Unauthorized Exercise of Notarial Powers. The attorney now faces up to 6 years in jail on the charges because he has acted as a notary even though he was never commissioned as a Notary Public.
“Many people assume that just because you are an attorney you are automatically a notary but that is not correct.” explained Bossier Parish Assistant District Attorney Richard Ray, who prosecuted the case. “Apparently the Notary Commission rejected his application many years ago but he acted as a notary anyway.”
According to Louisiana law, legal documents such as deeds, wills, and affidavits must be properly executed by a commissioned Notary Public. Improperly executed documents can cause serious and long-lasting problems for victims. Cox was accused of notarizing documents even though he was never commissioned by the state.
“Cox testified in a civil proceeding in 2015 that he knew he was not a notary yet he continued to act as a notary” Ray said. Cox was represented at trial by Eric Johnson. Sentencing by Judge E. Charles Jacobs on the notary charges is set for April 24.
Michael Cox and his wife Sharon still face felony charges stemming from the alleged theft of money and property from the estate of a disabled client. The couple is accused of improperly diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and property from the minor child of a deceased client. Trial on the felony charges is scheduled for June.
“I’m proud that our office aggressively pursued this crooked lawyer and is seeking justice for his victims.” said Bossier/Webster District Attorney Schuyler Marvin. “We prosecute criminals, even ones who are lawyers”.
The Louisiana Supreme Court issued an order on Jan. 24 suspending Cox from the practice of law, pending further investigation. He was also once a physician but, according to the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners, his medical license was previously revoked.