Uncle Sam Blows the Whistle on Mail Scam

     (CN) – A Californian is shaking down businesses using the name Pennsylvania Corporate Compliance, demanding a bogus $125 fee, despite being ordered to knock it off in four other states, federal prosecutors say.
     Defendant Aaron Williams lives in Playa Vista, Calif., and “operates what he purports to be a separate entity known as ‘Pennsylvania Corporate Compliance’ with a mailing address of 4075 Linglestown Road #120, Harrisburg PA 17112,” Uncle Sam says in the complaint in Harrisburg Federal Court. It continues: “Aaron Williams ordered 6,100 business names from the Pennsylvania Department of State.”
     Williams has been ordered to cease and desist running the same scam, under the names Indiana Corporate Compliance, Illinois Corporate Compliance, Ohio Corporate Compliance and Wyoming Corporate Compliance, the complaint states.
     And he’s trying the same thing in Rhode Island (see below).
     Williams apparently is not the only one running this game. Lawsuits alleging similar frauds have been filed in Texas, North Carolina, Los Angeles and San Diego. Some of those defendants also appear more than once.
     The government claims Williams uses a mass-mailer, Bullseye Marketing, in his scam. Bullseye is not a party to the complaint.
     The U.S. Postal Service is retaining 113 letters to Williams in Pennsylvania, each of which is believed to contain $125, the complaint states.
     That would come to $14,125, if each envelope contains such a check.
     The complaint states: “On March 22, 2013, 5,312 pieces of mail were presented by Bullseye Marketing, Canoga Park, California on behalf of PCC to the United States Postal Service.
     “Aaron Williams, doing business as PCC, mailed solicitations to businesses throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania urging them to file information and send payment of $125.00 by April 5, 2013 to maintain proper records.
     “In the mailing, he included one page instructions to complete the annual disclosure statement form, a one page annual meeting disclosure statement with a request {for} reply by April 5, 2013, and a return envelope directing the mail to PCC.
     “The annual meeting disclosure statement contains language from the Pennsylvania Business Code regarding documentation and maintenance of shareholder and director meetings.
     “The annual disclosure statement further 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.’
     “Corporations or limited liability companies registered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are not required to file corporate or annual meeting minutes.
     “Businesses receiving the mailing may be led to reasonably believe 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.”
     The complaint then names three people who were deceived by this, and adds: “There are 113 pieces of mail addressed to PCC at 4075 Linglestown Road #120, Harrisburg PA 17112 in detention, which were sent from businesses in Pennsylvania. …
     “Upon information and belief, each of the 113 pieces of mail addressed to PCC contains a check in the amount of $125.00 payable to PCC.
     “PCC is not a registered business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
     “The fraud being perpetrated by Defendant Aaron Williams has prompted the Pennsylvania Department of State to issue a consumer alert regarding the PCC scam on its website.”
     (Ellipsis and square brackets, but not French brackets, in complaint; citations to six exhibits omitted.)
     To cap it off, the government adds: “Further evidencing Williams’s predatory and ongoing fraudulent conduct, on April 19, 2013, 3450 pieces of mail were presented by Bullseye Marketing, Canoga Park, California on behalf of Rhode Island Corporate Compliance, 68 Dorrance St. STE 119, Providence, RI 02903-2210 to the United States Postal Service.
     “Based on information and belief, Williams is perpetrating the same fraudulent conduct in Rhode Island and will continue to pursue new victims in other states based on the pattern of behavior identified above.”
     The government seeks an injunction and a court order allowing it to seize “any mailings from or to the above identified entities, or any other fictitious entities, operated by Aaron Williams in furtherance of the fraudulent mailings and return any money or monetary instruments, such as checks, made payable to the entities as a result of the above described mailings;” and any other relief the court deems appropriate.

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