Newly-elected Attorney General Ashley Moody, R-Fla. - Photo by AP.

Florida Attorney General takes action to stop imposter scam

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Consumer Protection Division is taking action to stop, what they call, an imposter scam.

“This imposter scam involved people posing as government agency representatives in an effort to trick business owners into purchasing public documents and services that are often available for much lower fees,” Moody said.

The complaint filed Wednesday says Steven and Joe Fata solicited payments by giving businesses the false impression that paying for their services was required by law.

Steven Fata provided a response that says:

Our business, ANS, Inc. offers services to businesses to assist them in meeting certain government requirements. ANS is an entirely legitimate business venture that fulfills all of its promises to its customers. ANS’s services are fully guaranteed.

Florida requires that Florida Limited Liability Companies file an Annual Report with the State. A division of ANS called Workplace Compliance Services assists businesses in filing an Annual Report, in return for a service fee. Our marketing solicitations describe the services as follows: “Workplace Compliance Services, a private entity, will assist for a fee in the filing of your annual report.”

This and other content of the marketing materials make it perfectly clear that we are a private company offering a service to customers in exchange for a fee, and that the solicitation does not come from the government.

Another division, Florida Assumed Named Services, assists businesses in meeting requirements with respect to assumed names. Our marketing solicitation states that our business will “provide the services necessary to renew the name…in accordance with the requirements of Florida law….” Again, the content of our marketing accurately describes who we are and what we offer to our customers.

We believe our competitors have instigated unfair complaints against us with the Attorney General’s Office. It is alleged that we are impersonating the government, an accusation we absolutely dispute.

Our marketing materials state that we are a private entity and that we offer services for a fee, not unlike what other business professionals do, such as accountants, lawyers and other business advisers. Furthermore, disclosures are made in our marketing materials, in all capital letters, indicating that we are not a government agency and we do not have a contract with any government agency providing services.

Most importantly, a customer must sign the acknowledgment stating that the customer understands that our business is not a government agency. The only way a customer could believe that our solicitation is a government document, or that we are somehow affiliated with the government, would be if the customer did not read the solicitation document before signing it and placing an order. We believe the Attorney General’s Office filed its Complaint without fully investigating the matter. When all of the facts come to light, we expect to be fully vindicated. Please be advised that ANS, Inc. is not affiliated with Florida Council for Corporations and we do not respond on behalf of that Company

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