Compliance Scam Alert in Georgia: Corporate Minutes Hoax Not Limited to Ohio

You can chalk this post up as one that we all should have seen coming.

The compliance form hoax being perpetrated in Ohio is not just limited to to the Buckeye State. On Wednesday afternoon, The Daily Citizen in Georgia reported a similar scam that its making its way through the Peach State. From the report, which was was submitted to The Daily Citizen by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office:

Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel has warned corporations that her office received numerous complaints about solicitations sent from a firm called “Compliance Services.” The firm offers to complete corporate meeting minutes on behalf of Georgia corporations for a fee. The “Annual Minutes Requirement Statement” included in the offer is very similar to solicitations mailed over the last two years from firms named “Georgia Corporate Compliance” and “Georgia Corporate Headquarters.”

Despite the implications contained in the solicitation, Georgia corporations are not required by law to file corporate minutes with the Secretary of State. Additionally, Compliance Services is not registered with the Secretary of State’s Corporations Division to do business in Georgia.

“Georgia corporate customers should be advised that their company is not required to file annual minutes,” Handel said.

Much of the confusion about these forms stems from their official look. In the Ohio case, as reported by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, $150 is solicited along with “official-looking forms” that the soliciting party offers to file, stating that it is a requirement that corporate minutes be filed with the State. There is no mention in The Daily Citizen article of a specific dollar amount being solicited. However, the details of the hoax are nearly identical. They are presented in a manner similar to annual registration forms send out by the Secretary of State’s Office and contain a limited response time.

Clearly, corporate officers in every state should be on the lookout for a similar style scam coming their way. It is important to note that official correspondence from offices of the secretary of state typically include the State Seal and the name of the Secretary. If either is missing, you should be wary of the documents and follow up with the appropriate authorities.

Update: Based on some of the comments and emails we have been receiving, many CCI readers are receiving the scam forms from Compliance Services. Your best course of action if you receive these forms is to notify the Secretary of State’s Office in your state. If you need help getting the right contact information, drop us a quick note and we will help direct you.

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33 Comments

  1. March 16, 2009

    I received one of these solicitations in the mail today.
    Is there some place to report these people? It would seem that this would be a felony or considered a federal crime since they are using the US postal service.
    Isn’t there a governement agency that over sees matters like this?

  2. CCI
    March 16, 2009

    @Ann Hare, thank you for your comment.

    The link in the article to the story at the Daily Citizen about the scam in Georgia is no longer an active link. However, the following resource has some additional links to stories about this scam, which is going on all over the country:

    http://www.compliancebuilding.com/tag/corporate-compliance-business-services-scam/

    One of the articles, from Massachusetts, lists the email address for a person at the Secretary of State’s office as the official person to contact when you receive these fraudulent forms.

    I would contact the Georgia Secretary of State Office and let them know you have received this:

    http://sos.georgia.gov/contact.htm

    For anyone else with a similar question, my best advice would be to contact the Secretary of State in your state.

  3. March 16, 2009

    Yep, just got my scam mail. I’m going to file a complaint.

  4. March 16, 2009

    Thought I would share this public information. Just so you know who is running the scam letter’s web site and email.

    http://whois.domaintools.com/corpsrvc.com

  5. CCI
    March 16, 2009

    @Jason, thank you for posting. We just sent an email to the person listed as the administrator to try and get a comment or explanation. We will post immediately if there is any response.

  6. March 16, 2009

    @CCI,

    Just wanted to let you and anyone reading this that sometimes domains get hijacked and the owner has no clue there domain is being used in such a manner. So, with that…we will wait and see if a response is given. We can always escalate a complaint to the registrar holder listed in the domain whois.

    Thanks.

  7. CCI
    March 16, 2009

    @Jason, that’s a great point, and exactly the reason why I wanted to give the the person registered a chance to respond. We shall see if he/she does.

  8. Evelyn
    May 5, 2009

    I received two of these solicitations today, one from MA, the other from IN, the Indiana SOS indicated it is a fraud; the one from “Compliance Services, 71 Commercial St., #241, Boston, MA 02109″ is probably also a fraud. In any event, we already have registered agents who handle our filings & registrations, so there would never be a reason to complete these forms

  9. Jean Toxen
    June 8, 2009

    Thank you for this information and for saving me $125.00.

    I have been doing business in Georgia for over 6 years and wondered why this was the first year I received a request for Annual Minutes and from a Macon address not an Atlanta one. DOR and DOL have Atlanta addresses.

    Keep up the Good Work,
    Jean Toxen

  10. CCI
    June 8, 2009

    @Jean Toxen, glad we could be of service. That’s why we posted this item. Hopefully many more people are being as savvy as you and avoiding this unnecessary scam.

  11. Robert B.
    July 10, 2011

    They’re still at it. I got one a few days ago; July 9, 2010

  12. Laureen
    July 23, 2011

    I just got a scam letter in the mail and thought to check online. So glad I saw your article. I am contacting Georgia’s Secretary of State with this info. Thank goodness I didn’t send money – it looks official.

    Thanks for your thorough review of this company
    Laureen

  13. Paul Jackson
    July 24, 2011

    Got mine on Friday, immediately suspicious.

    No state seal, no website address and no phone number.

    For everyone out there, these are the 3 minimum requirements, and I stress minimum, that you
    should see.

    In addition, government at any level does not solicit money.

  14. July 25, 2011

    I WAS IN THE PROCESS OF FILLING OUT FORM CS MIN-GA11. I WAS CHECKING TO SEE IF I COULD FILE ELECTRONICALLY WHEN I STUMBLED ACROSS YOUR ARTICLE. I AM GLAD I DID. I AM REPORTING THIS TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE AS ADVISED. THE COMPANY WAS COMPLIANCE SERVICES.

  15. September 19, 2011

    This filing has hit Massachusetts now. One of our clients dropped one off today.

  16. Jane
    April 17, 2012

    They are still sending the notices. I just received mine today, April 17, 2012. This country is overwhelmed by these scam artists. Round them up and ship them out!

  17. Del Gran
    April 17, 2012

    Received request for $125 today. Interesting that the form includes no information about annual meeting minutes but is simply corporate informatin that is required to be filed by April 1 annually for $50 in GA. How can they prepare meeting meeting without any information from the meeting?

    Since this has been going on since at least 2009 per date of this article, the State of GA obviously isnt’ doing anything about this. Where is the IRS? Since they are not claiming to be a corporation, every $125 check received needs to be reported on their Form 1040 Schedule C with self-employment, State and Income taxes paid. The address in Macon is UPS store # 1914 per Google.

  18. Del Gran
    April 17, 2012

    BTW, if there is any government agency interested in shutting this scam down or pursing collection of revenue from this scam, I am saving both the original of this mailing and a PDF is available. Look up Advanced Systems Engineering, Inc in Roswell, GA and give me a call.

  19. Renee in Georgia
    April 19, 2012

    Got the same letter yesterday 4/18 – two to be exact. One for my husbands appliance repair business and another one at the company I work for full time. I did report it to the Secretary of State. It’s official looking enough to be confusing – especially if you are a fairly new company.

  20. Del Gran
    April 22, 2012

    Our letter to was received on April 17, 2012 from:
    Compliance Services
    5962 Zebulon Rd.
    Postal Mail Box 363
    Macon, GA 31210-2031

    Reviewing the postings at several web sites with postings by businesses receiving these solicitations, I find complaints about these or similar letters being sent to both S and C Corporations in fourteen states including AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IN, IL, MA, MT, NC, NY, OH, OR and TX.

    Compliance Services web site claims the following:
    The documents we prepare for your corporation will keep you in compliance with your state’s requirements and allow you to avoid the necessity of holding actual meetings of the necessary parties.
    http://www.corpsrvc.com/
    Form does not include any information about the meeting, just the Officers, Directors and Shareholders. Specifically no information about the date, place, or what was discussed in the annual meeting. How can you complete meeting minutes? Does the Secretary of State agree that fictitious meeting minutes replace the need for actually having an annual meeting?

    State Bar of CA Profile for Selwyn J Monarch:
    http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/Member/Detail/31025
    Above lists Selwyn J Monarch as “Inactive but eligible to become active” and includes address, phone, fax and email address.

    Document from link in above profile for a CA State Bar Court Case # 00-O-12562 dated July 18, 2004 signed by the judge on Jan 29, 2004.
    http://members.calbar.ca.gov/courtDocs/00-O-12562.pdf
    Last sentence of Legal Conclusion on Pages 12-13 of the above PDF:
    Respondent failed to keep Clients reasonably informed of significant
    developments in the Clients’ cases, in willful violation of section 6068(m) of the California
    Business and Professions Code.

    The above was assembled via Google searches on April 21, 2012 for the following:
    “Compliance Services” SCAM
    “Annual Minutes Requirement”
    “Selwyn J Monarch”

  21. Del Gran
    April 23, 2012

    2009 COURT CASES in NC and TX:

    NC took action against Compliance Services in 2009 and identifies the Owner as Selwyn J Monarch. The settlement requires payment of $25,000:
    http://www.ncnn.com/business/6646-state-stops-deceptive-mailings-to-businesses

    Additional documents related to NC Temporary Restraining order, etc:
    http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/corporations/pdf/TROExtendedOrder.pdf
    http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/corporations/pdf/TROCorporate.pdf

    The last link is a 71-page document. Selwyn J Monarch is identified as the Agent and Principal Officer of Corporate Services, Inc. d/b/a Compliance Services, Corporate Services and CORPSRVC.COM. The above link includes Exhibits of mailings and notices from several states, UPS Mailbox application, CA Drivers License, etc.

    Exhibit #6 in the above link includes a copy of similar Texas Action (Cause # 2009-40126)

    I summarized all the 2012 postings at:
    http://scriptionary.com/2009/03/07/annual-minutes-requirement-scam/
    Twenty Six Florida Postings starting with #327 starting in January.
    Six Georgia Postings starting with # 378 in April.
    One Posting from CA without any postings from states other than FL, GA and CA.

    My letter to GA Attorney General goes in the mail tomorrow. Somebody needs to notify the Attorney General in FL. GO CLASS ACTION #373 … it is funny to hear that an attorney got scammed … lends credibility to how confusing these notices are in spite of the disclaimers.

  22. niyanth
    April 29, 2012

    Our letter to was received on April 17, 2012 from:
    Compliance Services
    5962 Zebulon Rd.
    Postal Mail Box 363
    Macon, GA 31210-2031

    Ignoring the scam letter. Thank You all for keeping us informed.

  23. Del Gran
    April 30, 2012

    NORTH CAROLINA CONSENT AGREEMENT:

    Consent Agreement and Permanent Injuction signed by State of NC and Compliance Services on March 10, 2011:
    http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/corporations/pdf/ConsentJudgmentSigned031011.pdf

    Item 4 on page 3 references over 600 pieces of mail to “Compliance Services” being held at the UPS Store in Raleigh as of Oct 2009.
    600 x $125 = $75,000
    Assuming that 50% of the envelopes contained “Monopoly Money”, spit, etc, would still mean $37,500 in the envelopes. Terms of the consent order was payment of $25,000 and agreement not to make future mailings unless in compliance with the requirements of the consent agreement. As I understand the consent agreement, the 600 pieces of mail were released to Attorney General of NC for return to senders.

    Pages 5-7 of the Consent Agreement contains a long list of conditions which future solicitations by Compliance Services to NC businesses must comply with. Condition d) at top of page 7 specifies that future solicitations could not be sent between Feb 15 and April 30 annually to avoid confusion to NC Corporations filing of Annual Reports or payment of annual filing fee.

    From:
    http://scriptionary.com/2009/03/07/annual-minutes-requirement-scam/
    Postings #274, 277, 278, 279, 281, 282, 283, 284 and 286 all use the following address:
    Compliance Services
    2820 Selwyn Ave,
    Postal Mail Box 847,
    Charlotte, NC 28209

    The above address corresponds with UPS Store #2153 at 2820 Selwyn Ave:
    http://www.theupsstorelocal.com/2153/

    The first of the above postings was on May 26, 2011 and the last was on June 8, 2011.

    The above indicates that these mailings met at least two of the many requirements of the consent order:
    1) No mailings from Raleigh, North Carolina (Changed to UPS Store in Charlotte)
    2) Waited until after April 30 to mail the solicitations

    NC businesses may want to compare any letters received with the complete list of conditions on future solicitations and report to NC Attorney General if they do not believe that the solicitation received complies with all of the conditions on pages 5-7 of the Consent Agreement.

  24. Del Gran
    May 1, 2012

    OTHER SCAMS BY SELWYN J MONARCH:

    California Bar Journal, Official Publication of the State Bar of CA, includes the details of the 2004 action listed by “The State Bar of California” web site for Selwyn J Monarch Attorney #31025 as referenced in my April 22, 2012 Post #383 above.

    On the web page below, click on “SELWYN J MONARCH” who is the 6th from bottom on the list of attorneys listed under “SUSPENSIONS/PROBATION”:
    http://archive.calbar.ca.gov/%5CArchive.aspx?articleId=59208&categoryId=59126&month=11&year=2004

    From the above, SELWYN J. MONARCH [#31025], 73, of Sherman Oaks was suspended for 30 days, stayed, placed on one year of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect July 10, 2004. (MPRE = Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination)

    According to California Bar Journal, Selwyn J Monarch and another non-attorney owned and operated a business called MP Realty Services. MP sent out form letters seeking clients to represent for the purpose of determining whether home loan borrowers were due a refund for overcharges.

    MP Realty Services ultimately filed three breach of contract lawsuits, two against Fidelity Federal Bank and one against Downey Savings and Loan Association, after the banks declined to settle claims for refunds.

    Judgment was granted against the borrowers represented by MP Realty Services in all three cases, and without the borrower’s knowledge or authorization, MP Realty Services filed appeals. The appeals failed and final judgments totaling $178,000 were entered against the borrowers.

  25. Del Gran
    May 1, 2012

    SELWYN J MONARCH, MEET THE AUTHOR

    Selwyn J Monarch has been a member of “Don Porter’s Thursday Golf Group (DPTGG)” since 1998 and his photo and player profile are at:
    http://dptgg.org/cgi-bin/DPTGG/profile.cgi?SMonarch

    +++++
    Per Intelius on May 1, 2012, Selwyn J Monarch is now Age 80. http://www.intelius.com/results.php?ReportType=1&formname=name&qf=Selwyn&qmi=J&qn=Monarch&qcs=CA&focusfirst=1

    This correlates with Selwyn J Monarch being admitted to the CA State Bar in 1961, 51 years ago with “Disciplinary and Related Actions” in 1994, 1995 and 2004. At age 80, there is some hope that Selwyn J Monarch will get his reward in HELL soon.

    +++++
    I am glad my wife, son and daughter don’t have to face themselves, family and friends knowing that their spouse and father has a long history of operating on the very fringe between scam and legal.

  26. Del Gran
    May 7, 2012

    SECRETARY OF STATE AND ATTORNEY GENERAL MAKE BIG DIFFERENCE:

    What a difference the Secretary of State and Attorney General make:

    +++ NC and TX have taken legal action per my previous postings. You don’t see any recent posts from these states.

    +++ Montana Secretary of State warns:
    “ … if this scam penetrates our borders, I will immediately contact the Attorney General’s office to investigate”.
    http://sos.mt.gov/news/assets/pdfs/2009/Potential_Scam_Alert.pdf
    You don’t see any posts from Montana businesses.

    +++ Georgia has had a warning posted on their web site since February 2008 without taking any action. That is as good as saying it is okay.
    http://www.sos.ga.gov/pressrel/20080220.htm

    +++ Florida SOS web site posts a annual warning during the corporate registration season. Florida Attorney General’s office reached an agreement with Compliance Services in 2009 and states that Compliance Services is following the rules of this settlement via the disclaimers.
    http://m.naplesnews.com/news/2011/apr/27/Compliance-Services-Better-Business-Bureau-minutes/

    +++ California passes legislation effective Jan 1, 2012 requiring the same disclaimer used by Corporate Services as far back as 2009:
    http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/pdf/new-laws-preventing-fraudulent-solicitations.pdf
    This is like passing a law that says “Compliance Services, what you are doing is legal”. You don’t see many posts on this site from CA from there is a separate site for CA:

    The Los Angeles, CA BBB has 81 closed cases and identifies the contact person as “Selwyn J Monarch – Principal”. This site has the most information of any BBB site that I have found:
    http://www.la.bbb.org/business-reviews/Incorporating-Companies/Compliance-Services-in-Studio-City-CA-100049181

    From the above, you can see that Compliance Services knows where the “safe havens” are.

  27. nasim
    May 14, 2012

    i also get in mail 5-12-2012 , letter from the compliance services , 5962 zebulon rd. postal mail box 363, macon, ga 31210-2031 . but don’t send any money. somebody must check these people may be they get money from who don’t know.

  28. Del Gran
    May 16, 2012

    COMPLIANCE SERVICES USPS BULK MAIL PERMIT = DTPG

    The letter we received on April 17, 2012 had the following as a Bulk Mail Permit:
    Presorted Standard
    US Postage
    PAID
    DTPG

    Return Address is a UPS Store, same as everyone experiences:
    Compliance Services
    5962 Zebulon Rd.
    Postal Mail Box 363
    Macon, GA 31210-2031

    I would be interested in having others post the last line of the Bulk Mail Permit on the letters they receive. Do they all have “DTPG” or are other permits used?

    I called local USPS Bulk Mail facility and learned the following:
    + Businesses can obtain their own permits. For example, LL Bean could get a Bulk Mail permit
    that was “LLB”. (Example provided by USPS)
    + Those that use bulk mail permits have to take their mail to the facility where they obtained
    the permit where their mail is counted, weighed, etc to determine proper billing in lieu of
    postage.
    + There can be cases where, with assistance from insiders, you could circumvent the system
    and avoid payment of fees for the bulk mail.
    + Local USPS Bulk Mail facility could not help identify the location of mailing of the DTPG
    permit. Recommended that I call USPS Postal Inspector. Before I call, I would appreciate
    feedback from others who have received this mailing, particularly from those where the Bulk
    Mail permit Is different from DTPG and / or the return address is different than Macon, GA.

    I searched for acronyms for DTPG and found nothing that seemed applicable.

  29. Betsy
    May 26, 2012

    For at least 10 years I have periodically received this same letter from Compliance Services, 71 Commercial St. Boston MA! Today, May 26, 2012, was the latest letter received. I guess nobody can or will not stop this!

  30. Barbara
    June 1, 2012

    I just received a notice today from Compliance Services in Mass. A few weeks ago I received one from NC. I mailed both notices back with a huge “X” through the paperwork requesting that we be removed from the mailing list. Of course I know that will not happen!!! but it has given me some peace knowing someone will open it and be irritated that a check is not attached!

  31. June 19, 2012

    Our company received a notice yesterday, 06/18/2012…so this scam is alive and well in Georgia. It just so happened that I heard on the radio new a few months ago something about a scam like this. Since I am on the board of our Corporation I took a mental note. I am so glad that I did.

    I hope they catch whomever is doing this before more people get scammed.

    The address on my return envelope is: Georgia Corporate Compliance, Business Services Division, 925B Peachtree Street NE #820, Atlanta, GA 30309

  32. Bev
    June 20, 2012

    We just received one of these letters. Official looking form asking for $125.00! A scam for sure. The address on the envelope is Compliance Services, 5962 Zebulon Road, P. O. Box 363, Macon, GA 31201-2031. These people need to go to jail. Any update on this? Who do I report to?