Jerry Brown (D)SAN DIEGO (Legal Newsline)-California Attorney General has filed lawsuits in San Diego County Superior Court against eitght individuals and six businesses he alleges were scamming companies.
The lawsuits seek more than $3 million.
The three cases each involving the defendants sending official looking forms that demanded money. The defendants are also accused of making threats to businesses that they could lose their coroprate status if they failed to take up their offer.
The first case involves Anthony Williams, who operated Compliance Annual Minutes Board. Williams is accused of mailing solicitations consisting of official looking documents demanding that the small business fill out the forms returning them with an "Annual Fee" of $150 or risk losing their corporate status.
In exchange for the fee, he would provide corporate minutes for the company. In reality, he prepared fictitious minutes for the business owners who paid the fees, the attorney general's office said.
The second case involved George Alan Miller, Rebecca Miller, Arghisti Keshishyan and Kristina Keshishyan. Together they operated Annual Review Board Inc., Business Filings Division and Corpfilers.com, LLC.
They mailed solicitations to limited liability companies and corporations.
The solicitations demanded that they fill out the forms and pay the fees or risk fines, penalties and suspension. The fees ranged from $195 to $239. The documents they mailed were also official looking.
The third case involved Maria Jones, who operated Corporate Filings Division and Corporate Compliance Filings, Inc. Jones is accused of sending official looking documents entitled "Annual Minutes Disclosure Statement" stating that the business was required to fill out the form and send in the "Annual Fee" or risk losing their corporate status. In return Jones was to provide corporate minutes to the business; however she provided fictitious minutes instead.
"These cases will send a powerful signal that small business owners must be on the alert," Brown said. "These rip-off artists sent official-looking documents through the mail for the sole purpose of duping small business owners into paying them money-for no value in return."
In all three cases, Brown seeks civil penalties, injunctions and other equitable remedies and costs.
Brown's office has received more than 5,000 complaints of official looking forms sent through the mail since 2004 and five cases have already been successfully handled.