Notary claims document at center of Hill investigation was altered

ORLANDO, Fla. — The notary whose signature and stamp appeared at the bottom of a document at the center of a criminal investigation into Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill said the paperwork never passed through her hands – and agreed that it may have been altered.


Sandra J. Lewis, who has served as a notary in Parramore for a decade, affirmed that it was her signature and stamp on the record that gave Hill the power to take out a federal mortgage to renovate 170 Domino Drive.

Hill co-owned the house with a 96-year-old woman who FDLE investigators said wasn’t aware Hill had Power of Attorney over her. They said Hill used that authority to spend more than $100,000 of the woman’s money on items like a facelift and IV infusions and live in one of the woman’s houses.

Investigators highlighted that Power of Attorney document, dated both June 30 and July 30, 2022, as suspicious in their affidavit. They said witnesses whose names appeared on the document claimed they never signed it.

Read: Facelift, perfume & IV: Orlando commissioner investigated for exploiting 96-year-old woman

One of the witnesses’ names, Hill’s son Omari Nembhard, was misspelled on one of the two lines it appeared on.

That was one detail Lewis picked up on, in addition to the fact that the underline marking where Nembhard was supposed to sign the document wasn’t intact.

She said any mistakes on a document she notarizes, including misspellings and mismatching dates, receive circles and initials next to them to signify they were genuine mistakes.

READ THE DOCUMENT: FLDE’s accusations against Orlando commissioner Regina Hill

No circles or initials appeared on the document presented to her.

In addition, Lewis said Nembhard had never appeared in front of her to sign a document she notarized, and the other witness – ex-Hill aide Jacqueline Cockerham – never asked her to notarize any documents.

Furthermore, she said she has never notarized a Power of Attorney document to take out a mortgage, the type of paperwork WFTV presented her.

“As far as I’m concerned, you have my signature and my stamp, but you do not have my step that I use to authenticate documents,” Lewis said.

WFTV asked her, multiple times, if she recognized the document in her hands.

“No,” Lewis said emphatically, adding that she had several theories about how her signature ended up on the page.

Efforts to interview either Nembhard and Cockerham weren’t successful Tuesday.

It’s not clear if – or more likely, when – FDLE investigators plan to speak to Lewis about the document. The agency’s spokeswoman only said their investigation is active and ongoing.

Read: Holly Hill personnel files show prior investigation into former police chief

Already, fallout across the Central Florida political world is taking place. Although Hill has denied the accusations made against her and thus far refused to step down, possible successors are already putting out feelers to figure out if running for her seat would be worthwhile.

If Hill is ever charged, she could be removed from office and a special election could be called before her term ends in 2026.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said he hadn’t spoken to Hill about stepping aside since learning about the FDLE investigation recently.

“We know what we have to do if a commissioner is incapacitated or otherwise,” he said.

WFTV has reached out to Hill’s attorney for a response to the accusations.

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