Friday, September 10, 2010

Nevada Resident Agent Scam

A resident agent is simply a company or individual who acts as the resident representative of a corporation or similar entity, in the jurisdiction of incorporation. Until now.

For example, if you reside in California but you are incorporated in Nevada (as is often the case for tax and other reasons), your corporation has a resident agent. It might be your attorney, or it might be any of the many corporate services firms in the resident agency business. Typically, they will charge a fee ranging from $100 to $300 per year to act as Resident Agent.

Legally, there isn't much they have to do. The resident agent is just the person or company of record to which anyone can serve papers or formal notices meant for the corporation represented. Being available for such service, and passing on these communications, are basically all the R.A. has to do by statute. Most charge the fee and barely provide any service at all. Recently, some have become less than useless. They've begun running a scam.

There are approximately 322,000 corporations resident in the State of Nevada, each paying fees to the various service providers.  Apparently, some R.A. firms have decided they needed a bigger slice of that pie - whether they are actually asked to do it, or not. Their methods are bold and simple.

1. The Clawback

Usually when you incorporate in Nevada, you might use a service which does little else. They tend to charge much less than attorneys, and their focus on the single activity of incorporation often makes them better and more efficient at the task than is a typical law firm. Incorporation firms also act as resident agent for the companies they start, which is the real source of profits and ongoing income. Because a company has to pay a state fee to change its registered agent, the R.A. firm can count on continued business once they have it.

The claw back comes when you have replaced the R.A. firm with your own R.A, as is often the case with people who live in Nevada. Some firms are using the credit card on file for the original incorporation, and charging a resident agent fee and resident agent change fee. They are even filing the forms without any further consent of the corporation. They usually point to their original agreement to act as R.A, typically for the first year or six months, as cover for the scam.

By keeping the credit cards on file, they 'claw back' the R.A. position by billing you later without your consent. Try to cancel, and your bank will likely not believe you, as they see that the firm is in fact the R.A. for the corporation after the billing.  Banks are notoriously wilfully blind.

2. The Renewal Hustle

Some firms are enjoying a tremendous business by calling on corporate officers when their company is close to, or past its due date for filing of the annual list of officers required by the state. These R.A. firms take advantage of the situation by knowing that most of the corporations are small, closely held companies and LLC's controlled by one or two people. They call from a boiler room and use official-sounding names, often with the name of the State or County in the name of their private firm. They tell you that you are "in default" or "in violation" and that you will be fined an additional fee by the state of Nevada unless you renew right away. They quote you a price which includes the renewal (list of officers filing fee) and their own fee. You provide your credit card information, and they have you.

Once they have attain the position of R.A, you can't get away from them without paying another $60 fee to the State of Nevada. This helps keep them in the game. Unless you have someone to perform the service in Nevada for less, why would you change once they've already grabbed your cash? They bank on the confusion, misdirection, state fee structure and inept credit card banks.

The Solution - Free Resident Agent Service

In an effort to bring transparency and clean business to this service as an industry in Nevada; to expose what little value it brings in its current form to Nevada business in general, and also for the self-serving purpose of possibly generating more consulting business, in cooperation with the Legal Attache of the Consular Chamber of Commerce, I am offering to act as Resident Agent for your Nevada corporation, LLC, LLLP, Business Trust or other entity, for free

This is not a limited time or limited term offering.  You will pay nothing to have me serve as your resident agent.  So now you can afford to fire the old R.A. company and have a real, live person, with a real profile in Nevada, be your resident agent. 

If you need help getting your money back from your credit card company for a bogus resident agent payment, I'm happy to help with that too.

For details, please see

Please comment with your own experiences regarding resident agent scams, whether in Nevada or any other state or country.  We want to hear about it.