Attorney General Tom Miller says the Florida company, which offered to sell official state documents to companies in Iowa with a 1,000% markup, will pay a refund of nearly $ 80,000.
Centurion Filing Services has sent over 7,000 email ads to Iowa business owners under the name IA Certificate Service. A letter that looked like an official invoice told the company to pay $ 67.50 to receive an “Iowa Certificate of Existence.”
This is the actual documentation, but it doesn’t cost $ 67.50. The company is available directly from the Secretary of State of Iowa for $ 5. Also, the certificate is only needed in certain situations, such as when applying for some loans.
“As a result of the deception, many business owners believed that the letter came from the Secretary of State and needed to obtain a certificate of existence,” Miller said in a news release.
Miller’s office sued St. Petersburg-based Centurion and owner Dean Marshrac in November 2020. — To over 1,200 companies that bought them. According to the press release, the total will be $ 78,900.
“Centurion misunderstood Iowa’s businesses and charities at a time when many were already struggling in a pandemic,” Miller said. “We are pleased to have reached a resolution with Centurion, which offers refunds to companies and charities in Iowa.”
William Morris covers the Des Moines Register Court. He can be contacted at wrmorris2 @ registermedia.com, 715-573-8166, or on Twitter. @DMRMorris..
This article was originally published in The Des Moines Register: Iowa AG Tom Miller, Florida Company Settles Consumer Protection Proceedings