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AG Nessel Halts Wyoming Business Selling Deceptive Ready-Made Businesses, ‘Shelf Companies’ Used to Trick Customers

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel concluded her investigation into a Wyoming-based corporate solutions business with the filing of an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance and Discontinuance, or AVC, (PDF) in the 30th Judicial Circuit Court in Ingham County, shuttering the company’s sales of Michigan entities possibly meant to deceive. Wyoming Corporate Services this week agreed to the terms prohibiting their business regarding these products to avoid potential litigation from the Attorney General’s office for alleged violations of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act (MCPA). 

The Department’s inquiry into Wyoming Corporate Services followed a formal investigation into Opulent Marketing Inc., formally known as Opulent Marketing, LLC, a Michigan limited liability company. The investigation revealed that the ownership group purchased the “shelf company” from Wyoming Corporate Services. A shelf company is a business entity formed and then stored, as though placed on a shelf, to age idly awaiting an eventual buyer seeking to instantly own a years-old business. As alleged in a Notice of Intended Action, a review of Wyoming Corporate Services’ website indicated that it marketed shelf companies as a means to deceive consumers and gain favorable consideration in bids and equipment leasing, consideration that would not be likely afforded to a months or even weeks-old business. 

“One reason someone might purchase a company that has been incorporated and ‘put on shelf’ for a lengthy period is to gain a more favorable market perception,” Nessel said. “This kind of deception undermines the trust consumers place in businesses and distorts fair competition. We have seen deceptive businesses outright lie about where they are based, their licenses and qualifications, spoof false reviews, and cheat customers with deceptive and illegal contracts. Now consumers must also skeptically evaluate a business’s claim to how many years they’ve been operating. My department is committed to protecting Michigan consumers from such practices.”   

Under the terms of the AVC, Wyoming Corporate Services must immediately cease selling aged shelf companies previously created under Michigan law, and cease creating any additional entities in Michigan for sale as aged shelf companies. Additionally, the company is required to dissolve all Michigan entities currently being held and commercially available as aged shelf companies and remove any language from its website promoting the illegal or deceptive uses of aged shelf companies. 

To file a complaint with the Attorney General, or get additional information, contact:    

Consumer Protection Team
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
Fax: 517-241-3771
Toll-free: 877-765-8388
Online complaint form


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