DES MOINES, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced on Monday that he has reached an agreement with a deed supply company that allegedly falsely alerted homeowners that they needed to purchase a deed.
The California-based State Record Retrieval Board and Neil Camenker, its owner, allegedly marketed deed retrieval services in an attempt to defraud customers.
Miller's Consumer Protection Division was alerted to the company's alleged actions by a number of complaints from consumers.
Miller alleged that the company sent out notices that appeared to be from the government informing people that they needed to obtain copies of their deed and could buy one for $87.
What consumers weren't told was that they normally can obtain copies of their deeds for approximately $5 from their county recorder's office or, in some cases, see it for free online, Miller says. Legally, there is no reason to have a copy of the deed on-hand in most cases, Miller says.
Even though the mailings said that the State Record Retrieval Board was not associated with any government agency, that information was hidden at the bottom of the mailing where people were unlikely to read it, Miller says.
"Even the name - State Record Retrieval Board - is misleading," Miller said. "This isn't connected with the state and it isn't any sort of board. That name appears to be part of the basic ruse."
Under terms of the agreement, State Record Retrieval Board will no longer operate in the state of Iowa.
"We began to take a closer look at the company and its owner's dubious practices and they promptly agreed to get out and stay out of Iowa," Miller said.