DES MOINES, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced a temporary injunction on Wednesday against a California man who allegedly engaged in a scheme involving a government agency look-alike.
The Playa Vista, Calif.-based Aaron Vincent Williams, doing business as Iowa Corporate Compliance, allegedly duped Iowa businesses into paying $125 for state document fees by using solicitations that appeared to be from a government entity.
District Judge D.J. Stovall issued a temporary injunction on Wednesday barring Williams from misleading consumers or violating the Iowa Consumer Fraud Act.
"This government agency look-alike is targeting business people across Iowa with official-looking mailings, and convincing them that they must complete and return a form with a $125 fee," Miller said. "We allege that these documents are not worth anything more than the paper they're printed on."
Mailings from Iowa Corporate Compliance included an official-looking seal to allegedly create the false impression that they were sent by a governmental agency and that recipients must respond.
The Iowa Secretary of State office's Business Services Division received letters and calls from concerned owners and representatives, in addition to copies of the mailing, which was called an "Annual Meeting Disclosure Statement."
Williams allegedly set up a Des Moines mail drop as the address of the state agency look-alike. Responses received from businesses in Iowa were then forwarded to California.
After Miller's Consumer Protection Division learned of the scheme and issued a consumer fraud subpoena, it seized more than 260 forms, including checks, that were sent by Iowans responding to the mailings.
The Consumer Protection Division contacted seven businesses in Iowa that submitted forms and payments to Iowa Corporate Compliance.
Miller's lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction, a penalty of up to $40,000 for each Consumer Fraud Act violation and refunds for any Iowa consumer losses.