We all know of creative and incessant attempts to defraud us of our hard-earned money, many (but not all) internet- and email-based.  But nonetheless (i) the efforts of snooker us never stop, and (ii) we must constantly tell others in our family and our organization to be wary.  Eternal vigilance is a business and personal requisite these days.  The criminals are absolutely relentless.

Just this last week, our firm and my family were “almost” taken in by two of these international criminals:

  • Our firm (because we have a great web site and use internet marketing tools) constantly gets “new client inquiries” (usually via our web portal or regular email) from fraudsters asking us “do you review contracts?” or “can you sue someone for us?,” pretty generic and bland (but transparently fraudulent) inquiries.¬† I generally just “delete,” but one of these made it to one of our newer associates.¬† It was a client from Dubai who wanted us to assert certain contractual claims against another party.¬† We did so, and the matter instantly settled with a $385,000 certified check payable to our firm escrow account.¬† The fraudulent client then wanted us to wire the escrowed monies to him and a third party, both overseas (major red flag there!).¬† Fortunately, our crack bookkeeping staff saw the certified check was dishonored before we wired out the funds — disaster averted!.¬† But it was a close call.

[Something to note about these fraudulent inquiries: (i) they never want to communicate via telephone (but rather by email), (ii) the phone number they provide is always bad, and (iii) they always have some bland *@Gmail address.”¬† I sometimes respond to the email address they provide “please call me,” and they never do.¬† I call the phone number and it is bad for one reason or another.]

  • Sunday, right before the Superbowl, I stopped to have lunch with my wife.¬† She related to me that a piece of furniture she had for sale in Facebook Marketplace had sold to a buyer in California.¬† He was going to send us “certified funds” and then wanted us to pay his moving company to bring the piece to California.¬† “Wait a minute,” I said.¬† “why would we pay his mover,” and it vaguely reminded me of a fraud scheme I had heard from a client or read about on the internet.¬† Sure enough, I Googled “pay the mover” and found out this is a common scam.¬† You wire or pay funds to a mover, and later the “certified funds” are dishonored.¬† The victim is “out” the moving fee and the scammer never intended to pay for your furniture!¬† My wife told the would-be buyer that we would hold the “certified funds” for 10 days before shipping the goods, and he went radio silent immediately.¬† Fraudster!

Our firms, and our title company in particular, are attacked by fraudsters almost daily.¬† Fortunately, we are alert to the most common scams, and have avoided them all (we have clients who have not been so lucky).¬† But these two close calls — at the office and at home – remind us that vigilance is required and gullibility, and trust, in the internet era are simply foolish!

Be cautious with your funds and your property.¬† There are loads of fraudsters — some anonymous on the internet and some that you think are your friends — who will gladly and shamelessly steal your money and leave you wondering why you fell for their scam!

Be cautious!  Be aware!  Trust very few.

Jane Schulte

There have been numerous articles written about Remote Online Notarization (or RON) in the past few months, surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, and the real estate industry’s need to perform work digitally to ensure that sales, purchases and refinances can occur during the social distancing orders currently in place.

However, there has been some confusion surrounding terminology and differences in digital closings, and we are writing this article is to provide some clarity.


An e-Closing or electronic closing is a mortgage closing in which all the documents are created, accessed, presented, signed, notarized and recorded electronically. They remain in their digital form and nothing is printed out. An e-Closing is conducted with the signor(s) and Notary in each other’s physical presence, thus not accomplishing the objective of full separation of the notary/closer and the parties.

Hybrid closing

A hybrid closing is the same as an e-Closing except that the Promissory Note is papered out and wet-signed (sometimes along with the mortgage), so again the procedure does not accomplish the objective of physical separation.

Remote Online Notarization (RON)

A RON closing, on the other hand, uses an e-Notary to perform notarial acts when the signor is not in the same physical location as the notary.  The signor appears before an e-Notary in a live, recorded two-way audio/visual conference where identification is verified with a photo ID along with knowledge-based authentication technology.  A platform such as DocVerify, provides a tamper-evident seal and uses encryption and multi-layered security to prevent fraud.


Ivy Pointe Title is pleased to announce that it has an in-house e-Notary to provide these services for cash, lender and refinance real estate transactions.  Craig Donohoe, our in-house closer, is now able to perform RON closings for any lender, realtor, borrower or seller who would like the opportunity to sign their documents in the comfort of their homes or businesses, not only to avoid social contact at this time, but also in the future for convenience, speed and efficiency that has not previously existed in our industry.  We also have a second dedicated outside e-notary, Ted Dahmus, who is committed to priority e-closings for Ivy Pointe Title.

For more information on how to place your RON title and closing order, please contact Rick Turner (513.943.5660).

With the advent of the COVID-19 Crisis, Finney Law Firm and Ivy Pointe Title have quickly stepped to the plate, with technology that allows for the practice of law with appropriate social distancing, with attorneys who focus on practice areas to help their clients, and with cutting edge information on emerging programs to help businesses and individuals in need.

Technology allowing for electronic interaction

Finney Law Firm and Ivy Pointe Title  have carefully developed the tools to be prepared for a day such as this:

  • DocuSign allows for execution of documents from your computer. ¬†By federal and state law, e-signed documents are fully enforceable as with “inked” documents. Our team is licensed and trained in DocuSign technology for all documents in which clients will allow an electronic signature.
  • Electronic notary. ¬†Finney Law Firm and Ivy Pointe Title contracted with one of only a handful of licensed e-notaries in Ohio for exclusive provision of e-notary services. Using the platform DocVerify, we have the strongest technology to allow real estate closings and other transactions to proceed. ¬†By Ohio law, it is permissible to have documents signed and acknowledged (notarized) without person-to-person interaction via electronic signature and electronic notary.
  • Electronic payments. We use e-billing and credit card payments (and wire transfers and EFTs) for clients who prefer this method of billing and payment.
  • Electronic discovery and electronic depositions. Your litigation does not need to stop because of the COVID-19 crisis. Most of the work pre-trial can still move forward using e-mail, Zoom.US or Microsoft Teams for depositions, and motion work that can be electronically filed with almost all Courts.
  • Work-from-Home. If you do need to visit our offices, you will find that most of our professionals are not at their desks. Rather, they are safely (for you and them) working from home with the latest technology including Microsoft Surface laptops, Microsoft Teams Video Conferencing, Microsoft Office 365 data in the cloud, so we can access your data from anywhere in the planet, but with tremendous Microsoft security technology and backups.

Practice areas to help your business

Our business lawyers are up to date and prepared to help you through the thicket of issues that arise or are heightened with the COVID-19 crisis:

Attorney Isaac T. Heintz is proficient in contract interpretation, including how to enforce or avoid obligations under a lease or other agreement. He has already written purchase agreements with COVID-19 contingencies to extend due diligence periods to the declared end of the crisis. As you might expect, Isaac has also had many clients initiate their estate planning, or finish long-delayed estate planning work.

Attorney Stephen E. Imm heads our employment law group, and is advising clients on a myriad of new COVID-19 legislation and addressing employment law claims under previously existing law and the new enactments.

Attorney Bradley M.  Gibson heads our litigation group which is dealing with a multitude of business-to-business disputes, including those arising because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Attorney Richard P. Turner runs Ivy Pointe Title and in that capacity has been using every tool at our disposal to continue to close your transactions “accurately and on time, every time.” ¬†These include closings respecting social distancing, and we stand prepared to be one of the first agencies in Ohio to implement fully electronic closings. ¬†We also can do drive-by closings where you come to our office and sign documents from your car, or we come to you and you can sign them on our car hood.

Attorney Christopher P. Finney heads our public interest practice, and the host of issues addressing government-to-business and government-to-individual interaction arising from the COVID-19 crisis.

CARES Act assistance for your small business

Congress just passed the CoronaVirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which includes the Paycheck Protection Program that will provide what essentially are grants to businesses with fewer than 500 employees and enhanced Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).

Attorney Rebecca L. Simpson has been counseling clients through this program, and on Thursday night she joins other presenters on a panel addressing “CARES Act, Including Paycheck Protection and Funds for Businesses.”


We are working furiously to meet the needs of our clients in this fast-emerging crisis. Let us know how we can help you or your small business navigate these turbulent waters to come to the other side safely and profitably.

And our hope is that each of you remain healthy throughout this pandemic.



In order to protect the safety of all parties to a real estate closing, Ivy Pointe Title has a team of closers willing “go the extra mile”¬†to obtain signatures and notarize documents for buyers and sellers.

Curb-side service

To minimize social interaction, if you drive to either of our two offices (Mt. Adams or Eastgate), you can sign documents from the comfort of your car. We will come to you with the documents, obtain signatures, and notarize those that need to be acknowledged.

Travel to your location

We will also travel to the homes or workplaces of buyer and sellers to obtain signatures and notarize documents.  When all signatures are obtained and the transaction is funded, we will record the documents, issue the title insurance policies and disburse.

Best closing practices for hygiene and safety

We use “best practices” in all of our closings, including (a) we will not meet in person with any buyer or seller who is ill or exhibiting flu symptoms, (b) none of our closers will work or attend any in-office or remote closing if he or she is ill, (c) we wash hands, use hand sanitizer, and use Clorox wipes of all pens, equipment and surfaces before and after each closing, (d) we will not shake hands and will maintain a safe distance from all closing participants and (e) almost all of our Ivy Pointe personnel are working remotely from home to limit human-to-human interaction at the company.

Teleconferencing for Realtors and lenders

At closings, we also have the technology and have trained our personnel to teleconference in lenders and Realtors from our laptops so they may participate at all stages, all while keeping a social distance and minimize the amount of people gathered at one time. ¬†Ahhh, this probably won’t fly for roadside service closings, but we can try with FaceTime!

A great future together

Let’s all cooperate to keep the closings moving forward and stay safe!


Even in the most difficult times and the most difficult transactions, Ivy Pointe’s team is willing to go the extra mile to be “Accurate and On Time” in your real estate closing. Contact Rick Turner (513.943.5660) or Eli Kraft-Jacobs (513.797.2853) to close your real estate transaction quickly and accurately.

Ivy Pointe Title is actively pursuing Remote Online Notarization (‚ÄúRON‚ÄĚ) in order to effectively and conveniently conduct closings during the COVID-19 crisis.

What is a Remote Online Notary (RON}?

First, understand what this revolutionary technology means: With e-signature and e-notary, original inked documents will no longer be required; everything can be signed through on-line execution.  A buyer on his computer in one place can sign all of his closing documents, including the mortgage and other documents that need to be acknowledged (notarized) in his living room or home office, with a remote notary public sitting at a desk in another location. Similarly, a seller sitting in his kitchen at home can sign the deed and have it acknowledged (notarized) by an on-line notary sitting at his desk in another location. The Seller can likewise sign all of his other closing documents from his living room.  Disbursements can be via wire transfer, mailed or hand-delivered checks. In other words, every single document (including the deed and mortgage) can be signed by a party without leaving his home, and without a notary public physically (but rather virtually) present.

Where are we today?

We are in discussions with our underwriters, lenders and Realtors to comply with all RON laws, mandates and edicts.¬† Rather than being “first” to the table with this ground-breaking technology, we want to make 100% sure we can do this correctly when we do launch.

We will keep you informed of each step as we navigate these new uncharted waters.¬† In the meantime, check out this new American Land Title Association (‚ÄúALTA‚ÄĚ) bulletin:¬† https://www.alta.org/news/news.cfm?20200317-ALTA-Industry-Partners-Develop-Draft-Bill-to-Permit-RON-Nationwide

Expect more updates from us shortly.

We have a critical federal income tax issue of note for consideration by our clients:

>>> You may benefit from pre-paying your 2017 real estate/property tax bill(s) before year’s end.

>>> County Treasurers in Hamilton County, Butler County, Clermont County and Warren County have confirmed that you can determine and pay your entire 2018 real estate tax liability (both halves) before December 31, 2017.

  1. The just-passed federal tax bill caps deductibility of combined state and local income and property taxes at $10,000 per individual or married couple (the cap is the same regardless) for tax year 2018 and going forward, but that cap does not apply in 2017.
  2. Thus, if your state and local income and real estate tax liability is expected to exceed $10,000 in 2018, you may strongly benefit from pre-paying property taxes due in 2018 right now.
  3. We have checked with Hamilton County, Clermont County, Butler County and Warren County. ¬†Each County allows the prepayment of your¬†entire 2018 property tax bills (technically the 2017 bills payable in 2018) before year’s end.
  4. That means you may have the ability to pre-pay both halves before December 31, 2017 and obtain that deduction for the 2017 tax year.
  5. The 2017 tax year property values have only been calculated for Hamilton County, and those values may be ascertained by going to this link.
  6. For those remaining counties, your 2017 tax year payment may be based on the amount you paid for the 2016 tax year payment.
  7. For more information on how to pay, please click on the relevant link(s) below.

In Ohio:

  • For Hamilton County¬† … Click Here and Here
  • For Clermont County … Click Here and Here
  • For Warren County … Click Here and Here
  • For Butler County … Click Here, Here, and Here

In Kentucky:

  • Property taxes are due in September (City) and October (County) and therefore they cannot be pre-paid.

Your specific situation may differ.  If you are subject to an Alternative Minimum Tax, for example, this pre-payment may not benefit you.

For more information on this and other federal income tax questions, contact Isaac T. Heintz at (513) 943-6654 or Eli Kraft-Jacobs at (513)797-2853.

I want to extend a warm and sincere “Thank You” to the attorneys, staff, vendors, and clients of Finney Law Firm, LLC who have joined together to make our firm — dedicated to “Making a Difference” for our clients and in our profession and community — a tremendous success in our first four years in operation.

We started our new firm in Eastgate in the fall of 2013 with a great group of attorneys, a loyal and experienced staff, a top-notch lineup of vendors and a solid core of clients.  Since then, we have attracted more talented attorneys and staff, and have been met with simply overwhelming response from our clients.

We started with just four attorneys and three staffers.  Since then, we have grown to nine full-time attorneys, and are about to add our tenth.  We have expanded the law firm at Ivy Pointe in Eastgate three times, and eventually added space in the Rookwood Pottery building in Mt. Adams.  Just weeks ago, we tripled our space at Mt. Adams, so that the two offices are now roughly equal in size.

Under the leadership of attorney Rick Turner, we started Ivy Pointe Title, LLC in the fall of 2014 to support our commercial real estate closings and added to that base residential transactions.  He started with one full-time staffer, and now oversees an operation of seven full time employees. Due to tremendous success under his leadership, in November, we plan on doubling the size of the title company.

Our journey has taken us three times to the United States Supreme Court (with three unanimous victories) and numerous times to the Ohio Supreme Court. ¬†We have handled dozens of multi-million dollar corporate and real estate transactions for our small business clients, and we have saved clients more than five million dollars in real estate taxes. ¬†We successfully have handled numerous class actions for clients, including acting as local counsel for the ground-breaking class action against the Internal Revenue Service. ¬†All of this is while we have daily served, client-by-client, to “make a difference” in their transaction or litigation matter.

These accomplishments are the result of the combined efforts of many people, and to each and every one of them I owe my deep gratitude.  The engine of commerce, the laboratory of legal innovation, and the commitment to client service we have made together is enduring and flourishing, ultimately, because we all work together to provide value for our loyal clients in each assignment.

Thank you, most sincerely, for making this such a fun, rewarding adventure!

Christopher P. Finney, President

As we have grown, the vision of the Finney Law Firm is sharpening for our clients and the public: A broad array of services offered in one firm, each practice area delivered in a quality fashion.

At our core, we are a real estate firm, with experienced transactional attorneys, a title insurance company that insures residential and commercial titles, and commercial litigators who can address virtually every aspect of disputes relating to real estate: Eviction, foreclosure, title disputes, easement disputes, construction disputes and mechanics lien claims, as well as complex real estate litigation.

Beyond that, we offer quality estate planning and probate administration and our transactional team rounds our its services with corporate formation and development, including acquisitions, dispositions and financing.

Isaac T. Heintz, Kevin J. Hopper, and Eli Krafte-Jacobs, along with paralegals Tammy Wilson and Misty L. Winkler, and Richard P. Turner at the title company, lead our transitional team day in and day out.

Our litigators are well-known for our public interest practice — handing legislative¬†and regulatory matters aggressively, confronting government officials who would illegally interfere with their life, their business and their fortune. ¬†Three times we have ascended to the U.S. Supreme Court, and three times we won the relief we sought with 9-0 victories there. ¬† We¬†apply this same sophistication and vigor to commercial litigation, personal injury, wrongful death and medical malpractice matters.

Bradley M. Gibson, Stephen E. Imm, Julie M. Gugino, and Casey A. Taylor along with paralegal Brandy E. Fitch are our quality litigation team.

Finally, we are proud to recently have expanded our litigation services to include labor and employment law with experienced litigator Stephen Imm.

When a client asks “do you do that,” I am proud to respond “yes, and we do it well. ¬†Let me introduce you to …..”

Let us know how we we can help with your business or personal opportunity or challenge.  It is with you in mind that we have assembled this team of quality practitioners.

We are excited to announce that Finney Law Firm attorneys Isaac T. Heintz and W.Z. “Dylan” Sizemore will present “Five Pillars of Success” to the Greater Cincinnati Home Builders Association on Wednesday, April 20th from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM.

HBA members and non-members are invited, but non-members (“Future members”) must pay $25 to attend.

The seminar addresses the key steps that business owners should take in establishing and growing their businesses to maximize returns and minimize exposure to liabilities.  The presenters are knowledgeable and experienced business and real estate attorneys.

The Cincinnati Home Builders Association is a private organization of home builders and their vendors that is entrepreneurial and well-led.  They actively participate in civic matters of critical concern for the local economy and provide important educational opportunities for their members.  Finney Law Firm is proud to be a member.

A flyer with the details of the event is linked here. The location of the presentation is The Tile Shop, 3095 Disney Street Cincinnati, OH 45209.

Register online to attend this program. Reservations are required.