HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen announced on Thursday that more than $1.3 million in fines were during fiscal year 2011 from out-of-state businesses.
"As attorney general, it is my responsibility to ensure a level playing-field for all businesses," Jepsen said. "Each year, many out-of-state businesses choose to violate the law in order to gain unfair advantages. Today, we are sending a message to those businesses. Connecticut is open for businesses that operate honestly and in good faith. We will continue to vigorously enforce the law in order to crack down on unfair competition in the marketplace."
The fines were collected in a joint effort with Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill's office to collect money from out-of-state companies operating in Connecticut without legal authority to transact business. The penalties collected were paid by approximately 330 out-of-state firms and the amount represents the highest such figure since 2007, when over $1.7 million in fines were collected.
Under state law, business corporations, limited partnerships, nonstock corporations, statutory trusts and limited liability partnerships formed outside of Connecticut must obtain a certificate of authority to transact business in Connecticut by registering with Merrill's office and paying the statutorily established fee. More than 50,000 of these foreign entries have filed properly.
This requirement exists to protect domestic organizations from unfair competition and to place foreign and domestic organizations on an equal footing. The law also protects consumers with a grievance against an out-of-state firm by requiring that businesses appoint an agent for services of process in Connecticut to accept legal papers if court action is taken.
Companies in violation of the law face a fine of $300 for each month the company transacts business in the state without legal authority. In addition, some companies are required to pay the annual license fee required by statute for years the companies should have been registered with Merrill's office.
The enforcement effort between the two offices brought in $1,313,104.13 in fines from 328 out-of-state companies for violating the state registration requirements for fiscal year 2011. As part of a legal settlement with Jepsen's office, each of the companies that paid a penalty and continues to transact business in the state is now in full compliance with the law. The fines and penalties ranged from $40 to nearly $27,000.
The five largest settlements were with Dan Services Inc. for $26,955, The Providence Journal Company for $22,192.50, Global Med Technologies Inc. for $20,910, Harris Environmental Systems Inc. for $20,842.50, and Superior Technical Resources Inc. for $20,685.