United States Seeks Injunction Against Alleged Fraudulent State License Fees
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that it has filed a civil complaint seeking a permanent injunction against an operator of an alleged fraudulent mailing scheme directed at Pennsylvania corporations and corporations in other states. It has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia H. Rambo.
The civil complaint filed on April 29, 2013, alleges that Aaron Williams, of Playa Vista, CA, doing business as Pennsylvania Corporate Compliance (PCC), sent on March 22, 2013, 5,312 pieces of mail to Pennsylvania businesses. The mailings urged the businesses to file information and send payment of $125.00 by April 5, 2013 to maintain proper records.
According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, the mailings included one page of instructions to complete an annual disclosure statement form, a one page annual meeting disclosure statement with a request reply by April 5, 2013, and a return envelope directing the mail to PCC with a mailing address of 4075 Linglestown Road #120, Harrisburg PA.
The annual disclosure statement stated “failure to comply with certain requirements could cause your corporation to lose its limited liability status . . . . Companies that do not satisfy certain state requirements may forfeit the limited liability protection provided to owners, and could face administrative dissolution or revocation of the entity status by that state should the integrity of the corporation become questionable.” Additionally, the annual disclosure statement provides that PCC “assist[s] corporations to avoid potential non-compliance with the [Pennsylvania Business Code] of maintaining Annual Meeting Minutes.”
Businesses receiving the mailing reasonably believed that PCC is a state agency, completion and submission of the annual meeting disclosure statement is required by the Commonwealth, and they are required to pay the $125.00 fee.
In fact, corporations or limited liability companies registered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are not required to file corporate or annual meeting minutes and are not required to pay the $125.00 fee.
The Pennsylvania Department of State has issued a consumer alert regarding the PCC scam on its website.
Similar mailings in other states have resulted in a cease and desist order against Williams doing business as Indiana Corporate Compliance Business Service Division, Illinois Corporate Compliance Business Services Division, and Ohio Corporate Compliance Business Services Division. The Wyoming Secretary of State has issued a cease and desist letter to Aaron Williams doing business as Wyoming Corporate Compliance.
On April 19, 2013, 3,450 pieces of mail were presented on behalf of Rhode Island Corporate Compliance, 68 Dorrance St. STE 119, Providence, RI 02903-2210 to the United States Postal Service. These mailings are also believed to be part of Williams’ fraudulent scheme.
Williams’ continued misrepresentations and misuse of the mail are not in the public interest and undermine the State’s ability to collect legitimate fees. Thus, the United States Attorney’s Office has sought to permanently enjoin Williams from such fraudulent activities anywhere in the United States.
This matter is being litigated by Assistant United States Attorneys Melissa A. Swauger and Timothy S. Judge. The case stems from an investigation conducted by the Harrisburg office of the United States Postal Inspection Service.