Thursday, May 28, 2009

Indiana Secretary of State Corporate Minutes Mailings

From Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita. California may want to follow suit (although California's laws may be drafted differently than Indiana's, and it is not clear if these defendants are also behind some of the California mailings.


May 21, 2009- An out-of-state operation sending deceptive solicitations to Indiana businesses for the last several months would face fines of over $1.5 million and be barred from doing business in Indiana if the state prevails in a lawsuit filed last week in Marion County court.

The complaint against Aaron V. Williams of Las Vegas, Lisa Diane Brown of California and several companies affiliated with the two was filed by Attorney General Greg Zoeller in Marion County Superior Court alleging several violations of the Deceptive Commercial Solicitation Act. The action comes after a multi-state investigation by the office of Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita which tracked the activities of a business operated by Williams and Brown known as "Indiana Corporate Compliance."

Indiana businesses have reported receiving letters from Indiana Corporate Compliance that appear to come from an official government source - specifically the Business Services Division of the Indiana Secretary of State's office. The letter solicits annual fees of $125 to $150 that it claims will be used for the record keeping and processing of the company's annual minutes. It also instructs businesses to respond by citing fictitious state law and including a "return by" date. The return addresses on the letters are rented mailboxes at UPS stores in Indianapolis, including one within steps of the Indiana Statehouse.

"The actions of these out-of-state scam artists to bilk Indiana businesses are deceptive, despicable, and likely criminal," said Secretary Rokita. "I will do everything I can to stand up for Indiana businesses and shield them from financial attack. I thank Attorney General Zoeller and his team for helping bring legal action."

Secretary Rokita has issued warnings through the media, sent e-mails to Indiana businesses and posted warnings on his Web page to ignore the letter. Still, businesses report falling victim to the scam and have sent money in response to the letter. No business has reported receiving any services from Indiana Corporate Compliance. Secretary Rokita's office continues to investigate and is developing a criminal case against Williams and Brown.

State law requires periodic business entity reporting, but with fees of only $30 every two years for for-profit entities and $10 every year for non-profit organizations. Businesses operating in Indiana can now securely perform this reporting online through the INBiz portal found on the Secretary of State's Web page,

If you believe you fell victim to this solicitation, please contact the Business Services Division Help Line at (317) 232-6576. Businesses wishing to check the validity of any mailing from Indiana's Business Services Division or any division of the Office of the Indiana Secretary of State should also call this number.

See also: California Corporate Compliance Minutes

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

SBA Announces No-Interest Loans for Struggling Businesses


Release Date: May 18, 2009 Contact: David J. Hall (202) 205-6697
Release Number: 09-30 Internet Address:

SBA Launches New 100-Percent Guarantee ARC Loan Program to Help Struggling Businesses

WASHINGTON – Small businesses suffering financial hardship as a result of the slow economy may be eligible to receive temporary relief to keep their doors open and get their cash flow back on track through to a new loan program announced today by SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills.

Beginning on June 15, SBA will start guaranteeing America’s Recovery Capital (ARC) loans. ARC loans are deferred-payment loans of up to $35,000 available to established, viable, for-profit small businesses that need short-term help to make their principal and interest payments on existing qualifying debt. ARC loans are interest-free to the borrower, 100 percent guaranteed by the SBA, and have no SBA fees associated with them.

“These ARC loans can provide the critical capital and support many small businesses need to make it through these tough economic times,” said Administrator Mills. “Together with other provisions of the Recovery Act, ARC loans will free up capital and put more money in the hands of small business owners when they need it the most. This will help viable small businesses continue to grow and thrive and create new jobs in communities across the country.”

“It’s my firm belief that we will soon see better days ahead with these Recovery Act tools including this highly anticipated deferred-payment loan that can now aid small business owners confronting these dynamic conditions,” said Alberto G. Alvarado, Los Angeles SBA District Director.

As part of the Recovery Act, the ARC program was created as a no-interest, deferred payment loan to help small businesses that have a history of good performance, but as a result of the tough economy, are struggling to make debt payments.

ARC loans will be disbursed within a period of up to six months and will provide funds to be used for payments of principal and interest for existing, qualifying small business debt including mortgages, term and revolving lines of credit, capital leases, credit card obligations and notes payable to vendors, suppliers and utilities. Repayment will not begin until 12 months after the final disbursement. Borrowers don’t have to pay interest on ARC loans. After the 12-month deferral period, borrowers will pay back the loan principal over a period of five years.

ARC loans will be made by commercial lenders, not SBA directly. For more information on ARC loans, visit

Monday, May 18, 2009

Study Names "Most Free" States; California Ranks Poorly

A recent George Mason University study ranked the 50 U.S. states on a freedom scale, attempting to turn the various economic, social, and personal freedoms available in each state into a number, allowing comparison and ranking.

According to the researchers, the "freest" states are New Hampshire, Colorado, and South Dakota: "All three states feature low taxes and government spending and middling levels of regulation and paternalism."

On the other end of their spectrum, "New York is the least free by a considerable margin, followed by New Jersey, Rhode Island, California and Maryland."

A color-coded freedm-ranked map of the states is available here.