[BATON ROUGE] – An individual has been masquerading as a member of the secretary of state’s office, and yet he is inside of the law. This is possible through one means: he has put in fine print at the bottom of a form he sends in to the companies that he is in fact, not. The secretary of state’s office previously has had little means to combat this. However they are working to change that.
“It’s a legal document,” said Secretary of State Tom Schedler, “It’s like an annual report but they go a few steps further. And they want to maintain your minutes for you and various other things that we wouldn’t require of you, and what is normally our $25 fee is an $125 fee with this particular individual.”
Senator A. G. Crowe has proposed the Business Identity Theft Protection Act that will allow Schedler to send out a mass e-mail with a notification about situations similar to this to all companies filed with the office at no charge to him, something he stated previously might have cost him an excess of $85,000 each time through individual letters. Being added to the e-mail list will be optional for each company, and all e-mail addresses given to the office will remain confidential.
“I received one of the letters myself, and it looked very official. I was getting ready to write the check,” said Crowe, referring to one of the letters that has caused the concern. “They do provide a service, but the way they’re doing it is very misleading, misrepresenting themselves and making it appear as if it’s an official document from the secretary of state’s office, which it’s not.”
An amendment has also been added to the bill which provides for notification of certain persons who subscribe to the secretary of state’s electronic mail service when their name is removed as an officer of the company.
The bill is currently assigned to House and Governmental Affairs.