|August 28, 2014
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Following an enforcement action by Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office, Thomas H. Fred, Jr. has been found in contempt of court for violating a court order obtained by the Attorney General’s Office in July 2013 prohibiting him from continuing to deceive businesses into believing that the services he sold them were required under Florida law. The court also ordered him to pay $300,000 in restitution within 60 days. The Attorney General’s Office sued Florida Center of Corporations and its owner, Thomas H. Fred Jr., in 2013 for allegedly deceiving companies by sending them letters that gave the impression they had to pay additional fees to obtain certificates showing that they were legally incorporated under Florida law when no such additional payments were necessary.
According to the lawsuit, at least 12,000 Florida businesses paid fees to the Center in response to these deceptive mailings.
Despite the injunction prohibiting Fred from sending out any such solicitations and a freeze of the company’s assets also obtained by the Attorney General’s Office, Fred continued to mail out a substantially similar solicitation with the help of a third party and deposit checks from the consumers in his bank account. Fred will serve up to 30 days in jail should he violate the court's contempt order.