January 24, 2013

Maine businesses warned of scam seeking corporate info

Local attorneys offices targeted

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Letters asking for corporate directors' names, addresses and $125 from "Corporate Records Services" did not come from state Bureau of Corporations.

click image to enlarge

Attorney Karen Boston displays about 60 letters received at the Lipman & Katz law firm on Wednesday in Augusta. The letters asked for corporate directors' names, addresses and $125 from "Corporate Records Services."

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

It's a scam, a state official says.

The letters, many of them delivered to offices of attorneys who are clerks or registered agents for corporations, come in green envelopes, according to Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta.

Katz, an attorney at Lipman & Katz, in Augusta, said Wednesday that his office received 60 envelopes seeking information that included corporate minutes. He said a call to the secretary of state's office revealed other people were inquiring about the letters as well.

"At first glance, this solicitation may look official; however, some of the information being requested is not required to be filed with the secretary of state," Barbara Redmond at the Department of the Secretary of State said in a news release Wednesday warning about the scam.

The warning was issued late Wednesday morning, and by then the office had received 30 inquiries about the information in the letters. Redmond said the first inquiry came Tuesday afternoon.

Redmond later said that the corporations bureau is looking into how the corporate addresses were obtained. "We don't know where they got the information," Redmond said.

She said the Office of the Maine Attorney General also has been contacted and could consider enforcement action.

The alert about the scam was sent to all media outlets as well as to all corporations and nonprofit entities whose email addresses are on file with the Bureau of Corporations.

The return address on the envelopes indicates it came from Corporate Records Service, 126 Western Ave., Augusta, which is the address of The Mailing Center. The information sought is to be returned to that address also, according to the letters.

The state Bureau of Corporations website says that businesses pay an $85 annual report filing fee; foreign business entities pay $150; nonprofit corporations are charged $35. Annual reports are due June 1.

Betty Adams -- 621-5631
badams@centralmaine.com

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