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Attorney General Madigan sues firm for secretary of state scam

Madigan alleges company used secretary of state's office to con businesses to pay unnecessary fees

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[December 13, 2012]  CHICAGO -- Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed suit on Tuesday against a Michigan company that purported to work on behalf of the Illinois secretary of state's office in an attempt to con Illinois businesses into paying hundreds of dollars in unnecessary fees.

Madigan filed the lawsuit in Sangamon County Circuit Court, alleging Corporate Records Service sent direct-mail solicitations to Illinois corporations in an attempt to collect a $125 per business fee for an "Annual Minutes Records Form." The company operated the scheme under a guise that these solicitations were sent from Secretary of State Jesse White's office, though Illinois does not require corporations to fill out such a form or pay any fee.

"These bogus letters may look official, but companies in Illinois that receive them should promptly put them where they belong: in the garbage can, because neither the form nor the fee are required by Illinois law," Madigan said.

Secretary of State Jesse White said: "My goal from the day we first learned of this scam has been to notify the public and business community to protect Illinois corporations from becoming victimized, as well as to work toward obtaining reparations for those companies that have been victimized. Filing suit against this company is the next step in the process. My general counsel's office and Secretary of State Police have worked closely with the attorney general's office in this case, and I applaud Attorney General Madigan for her decision to prosecute this company."

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Madigan and White's offices have received dozens of complaints and hundreds of calls from Illinois corporations about the scam. The lawsuit asks the court to ban the company from such solicitations and refund any Illinois corporation that paid fees to the firm. Madigan's suit also asks the court to assess civil penalties based on violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.

Assistant Attorney General Cassandra Karimi is handling the case for Madigan's Consumer Fraud Bureau.

[Text from file received from the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan]

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