By Attorney General Communications
Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch announced her office has filed a lawsuit today against Centurion Filing Services, LLC, dba Mississippi Certificate Service, for allegedly deceptive solicitations targeting new Mississippi businesses. This action follows an Attorney General’s Office cease-and-desist letter to Centurion dated June 16, 2020, to which the company has not responded.
According to the complaint filed in Hinds County Chancery Court, Centurion sends solicitations to new business owners including “2020 Certificate of Existence Request Forms” and charging a fee of $90.50, over three times the cost of a valid certificate available directly from the Secretary of State for only $27.59. The lawsuit notes that Centurion’s letters include elements meant to make new business owners believe they must make the payment through this form, which is intentionally designed to look like an official State document.
“Con artists, like Centurion, are making themselves out to be official state agencies in an attempt to exploit vulnerable business owners in our state,” said General Fitch. “This lawsuit was filed to stop Centurion’s fraudulent practices and to protect Mississippi’s small business owners.”
More than 2,700 businesses have been affected and have lost between $170,000 and $260,000. While the State does issue these certificates, they serve no purpose for the newly formed businesses targeted by this scam, which receive a Certificate of Formation.
Secretary of State Michael Watson and Attorney General Lynn Fitch released a joint warning in February noting the solicitations are not legitimate. The company has no affiliation with the state.
Businesses may report deceptive or misleading solicitations like these to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-281-4418 or email@example.com.
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