Scam Alert - Florida Center of Corporations

By Michael Banner - Mar 28, 2013     

 

A Florida company is currently attempting to deceive unsuspecting small business owners who have just formed a new corporation or LLC in Florida and receive money by pretending to be the Secretary of State of Florida.  “Florida Center of Corporations” is sending letters to newly formed Florida INC's & LLC's indicating “You have one step left to receive your Florida Certificate of Status”, they are instructed to complete their filing by filling out a stub and to “mail back to the corporations center with your payment of $54.47 (some recent mailings have said $47.99) to complete your articles of organization certificate.” 

 

The problem...  It's a SCAM! 

The filing described was already completed and “Florida Center of Corporations” is not affiliated with the Secretary of State of Florida.

 

 

Why is this a Scam?

We are calling this a scam because the only service Florida Corporations Center is providing is to obtain a Certificate of Status (or good standing) from the Secretary of State of Florida.  The state only charges either $8.75 (for an INC) or $5 (for an LLC) for this.  SmallBiZ.com provides the service of obtaining certificates like the Certficate of Status for $10 (plus the state fee).  If an INC or LLC owner truly wanted a certificate of status, then FL Corporations Center is providing a service, albeit a pretty expensive one at 5 to 10 times the actual cost.  However, we label this a Scam because the correspondence is made deceptively like it is coming from a government agency.  This is wrong and small business owners should avoid doing business with any company that operates in this manner.


Notice sent Florida Small Business Owners:
 


 

 

So, just who is Florida Center of Corporations?

The Florida Center of Corporations is a fictitious name filed only in April by Thomas Fred, via his company L Seven Development LLC.  The Better Business Bureau doesn’t think too highly of them as they are rated the worst grade of “F”.

 

Florida Center of Corporations

Current Address:  5810 N Monroe St., Suite 210a Tallahassee, FL  32303
(This is NOT a physical business address; it is a mail drop address operated by Goin' Postal.  It is the most recent address we have, reported to us on 11/9/13)
Former Address: 4650 SW 51 Street Suite 702, Fort Lauderdale Florida 33314
(See picture above)

BBB Rating:  F (see here)

 

Entity Type: Fictitious Name

Filed:  02/01/2013

Registration Number:  G13000011400

Document Number:  L10000111034

 

Owner:  L SEVEN DEVELOPMENT LLC

Document Number: L10000111034

Phone: (954) 237-5152

Fax: (954) 237-6651

BBB:  Not Accredited: 6 complaints as of March 28th, 2013 (see here)
Owner:  FRED, THOMAS HJR (Managing Member)
Address: 
1221 STIRLING RD.,  UNIT 120,  DANIA BEACH, FL 33004

About Michael Banner
  CEO & Founder of SmallBiZ.com, created over thirteen years ago to help small business owners simplify the process of starting & managing their small businesses. SmallBiZ.com now serves over 10,000 businesses per year with various filing and subscription services; in addition to the 1000's of daily visitors to www.smallbiz.com, accessing free services, help pages, & educational videos & webinars.


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   Comments
Garrick Plonczynski 4/8/14

This is disgusting! I was scammed here. I knew something didn't seem right from the start but against my better judgement I sent the money. I wish I had found this website sooner. I filed my complaint with the state. I hope something is done and plan on calling Pam Bondi's Office immediately in the morning to see what needs to be done to press charges. Thanks to everyone who posted here. I am furious at this kind of crap!

Lisa Roberts 3/10/14

Sorry, the second letter came from F.S.C. (Florida certificate of status).

Lisa Roberts 3/10/14

Thank you Michael for sharing this info on this scam. You also saved us over $100. Received two requests from this company. Now called 1) corporate filing services center, 14359 miramar parkway #123, miramar, fl 33027, asking for $68.72. 2)F.C.S., 113 s Monroe st 1st floor, Tallahassee, fl 32301-1529. They both look professional. The one from Tallahassee has on the back page :beware of duplicates charging more than $50. Thank you again for sharing this scam with the public.

Glory Jean 2/20/14

I received a four letters from them. It wasn't until the fourth letter that I got suspicious. Now I have to go through the whole legal process of getting my money back. I don't like being lied to, mislead or taken advantage of so this company is in for a rude awakening.

Ryan KillKelley 1/20/14

I just started an LLC in January 2014. I received 2 requests form this group. The first: The new name of this company is Florida Corporate Filing Services. Same address in Tallahassee. The second Florida State Corporations, found written into their logo in tiny font. Address is 113 S Monroe St. 1st floor, Tallahassee FL 32301 This one says, in TINY writing on the back, that by using their services, you're not allowed to take any negative action against them, arbitration will be binding, so on and so on... Both are looking for around 50.00 to complete and process my Certificate of Status. The language is awesome, very professional. "Banks will often require a Certifica of Status from a business both when opening bank accounts as well as when obtaining financing, so most people make sure and order one." So most people make sure and order one? Very professional... OMG, thank you for this article. It looks like this company now has 2 names and is operating out

Michael Banner 11/11/13

Hi Mark Lazarewicz - Giving Florida Corporate Filing Service the benefit of the doubt (I wouldn't do that) and they are actually providing you something, they are probably giving you a Certificate of Status/Good Standing. The Secretary of State charges $8.75 for this and you do NOT need it! If you do, you can always order it directly from the SOS of Florida, or if you need help, you can go to a legitimate filing service like our SmallBiZ Filing Service. The problem is that they send this notice purposely to look like it is coming from a governmental agency. THIS IS FRAUD and they should be stopped! Please report them to the state's Attorney General (see the link in my 4/25/13 post). They are counting on you 1.) not reading their mail and 2.) not reporting them to the AG's office. Please stop them from this fraud! Thank you for your post.

Mark Lazarewicz 11/9/13

sorry my letter is from Florida Corporate Filing Service 5810 N monroe st suite 210a Tallahassee The form has small print this is not a goverment Agency they want 47.99 and actually ask for a 4 digit credit card Security code CCV

Mark Lazarewicz 11/9/13

sorry my letter is from Florida Corporate Filing Service 5810 N monroe st suite 210a Tallahassee The form has small print this is not a goverment Agency they want 47.99 and actually ask for a 4 digit credit card Security code CCV

Mark Lazarewicz 11/9/13

I just got 3 of these and was suspicious about giving any bank info to anybody was going to send a money order. I guess my question is this document required? it appears to be optional and I was wondering what purpose it serves . one letter claimed i need this to open a bank acoount which was not the case. Glad I googled this before buying a money order

Michael Banner 10/16/13

To Joshua and all others: We posted this so that others could see this scam and hopefully avoid it. We REALLY hate this kind of thief! Unfortunately, unless you 1. Report this scam to the Attorney General (see my post from 4/25/13 below) when it happens to you & 2. Read first what you receive (don't assume it is from your state); this company, and others like it, will continue to prey on unsuspecting Small biz owners.

Joshua Stein 10/15/13

You just saved us over $150 for nothing. You can get a real LLC Certificate of Status at Sunbiz for $5. https://services.sunbiz.org/Filings/AnnualReport/StandaloneCertificateStart You're my hero right now.

robert koenig 6/7/13

Thanks for that advice. That form really looks like it is official. They even added a DR from number..I just filed a complaint

Michael Banner 4/25/13

Florida entities continue to receive these notices. I just posted a copy of one received by one of our clients today (4/25/13). If you have received one, DO NOT SEND THIS COMPANY ANY MONEY! We recommend you file a complaint with the state Attorney General's Office using their online complaint form.

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