Wash. AG, deed company reach agreement

Bryan Cohen Jun. 2, 2011, 2:00pm


SPOKANE, Wash. (Legal Newsline) - Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna announced on Wednesday that his office has reached a settlement with a deed company that allegedly sent out notices to Washington residents requesting money.

Neil Camenker, the California-based owner of the "State Record Retrieval Board," allegedly sent notices to Washington residents in 2010 directing them to pay $87 to obtain a copy of their property deed or face a $35 fee if they missed the deadline. Of the 5,000 Washington residents who received the notice, 45 allegedly sent checks. McKenna's office said the residents were misled and are owed refunds.

"The notices were deceptive junk mail designed to trick people into buying something they don't need," Jack Zurlini, the Washington assistant attorney general, said. "Even if there were a government agency named the 'State Record Retrieval Board' - which there isn't - it wouldn't charge you $87 for a property deed."

The Olympia mailing address on the mailers was allegedly a UPS Store drop box and the real sender was Camenker, who allegedly sent similar notices throughout the nation. The company has an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau and McKenna's office issued a warning about the mailers online in December.

McKenna's office reached a settlement with Camenker ensuring that the defendants will not mail any more solicitations in Washington that include misrepresentations or make consumers feel compelled to respond.

Camenker and his company will also pay $3,915 in consumer refunds plus $1,085 to reimburse the state for attorneys' fees and legal costs. The defendants also face $15,000 in civil penalties if they fail to comply with the restrictions the settlement imposes on their business practices.

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