(WFRV) – The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit against a Florida-based company that allegedly sent deceptive mailers to newly-created Wisconsin businesses.

According to the complaint, Centurion Filing Sevices, LLC, operating under the name ‘WI Certificate Service’ sent tens of thousands of deceptive letters to Wisconsin businesses since 2020.

Officials say that the mailers are designed to look like government invoices and encourage the new companies to order a ‘Certificate of Status’ for $72.50, over 6,000 Wisconsin businesses reportedly responded to the mailers.

However, businesses can request the same form directly from the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) for $10.

In March 2021, the DFI and the Better Business Bureau issued a warning to businesses about the misleading solicitations.

Secretary Randy Romanski of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) said Centurion’s actions were deceptive, “By posing as a state government service, Centurion defrauded thousands of legitimate businesses for hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

The announcement was made on October 13 by Attorney General Josh Kaul, and the lawsuit seeks restitution for businesses that have been damaged by the illegal conduct, civil forfeitures, and to bar Centurion from further violations.

“When Wisconsin businesses or consumers are scammed, the scammers must be held accountable,” said AG Kaul. “Thank you to those at DOJ and DATCP whose work led to the filing of this civil enforcement action regarding deceptive mailers that were sent to new businesses.”