Bryan Cohen Apr. 8, 2013, 6:10pm

INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed a lawsuit Monday against a company that allegedly sent government-like mailings offering property deed copies for unreasonable fees.

Illinois Deed Provider Inc, doing business as National Deed Service Inc. and National Record Service Inc., allegedly sent mailers to property owners that offered certified copies of deeds for $59.50 with an additional copy for $20. Property deeds are public records. County recorders can provide copies for free or at a cost of $1 per page. Property deeds are typically one or two pages.

"The solicitations mimic government legal documents which mislead consumers into believing they need a copy of their property deed," Zoeller said. "Homeowners are not required to have copies even when they go to sell a property and they can obtain these documents from their county recorder's office at little or no cost."

Illinois Deed Provider's mailings contained the property owner's name, property deed document number, address and county recorder's information. Interested parties could fill out the form and return it with a money order, credit card number or check.

The state alleges that Illinois Deed Provider violated the Deceptive Commercial Solicitation Act and the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act. Zoeller's office seeks consumer restitution, civil penalties, an injunction and investigative costs.

Zoeller's office also filed a motion for a preliminary inunction against the company to prohibit it from sending further notices pending a final court judgment.

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