Scammers sued for impersonating Secretary of State

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan recently filed suit against a Michigan company that purported to work on behalf of the Illinois Secretary of State’s office in an alleged attempt to con Illinois businesses into paying hundreds of dollars in unnecessary fees.

Madigan alleges 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 came 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.

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 give refunds to any Illinois corporations 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.

Businesses that have received the notice are encouraged to contact the Secretary of State’s business services office at (312) 793-3380 or (217) 782-6961.