Business transferred to crook’s name – WSVN 7News | Miami News Weather Sports | Fort Lauderdale

(WSVN) – If you own a business in Florida, register the business with the state. But scammers have found it easy to change the company to their name. Even more surprising is the state can’t prevent it right now, which is why one company turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser

When Marcee moved away from Hawaii, she brought a piece of island culture with her to South Florida.

Their dancers, all with Polynesian connections, have entertained South Floridians for years.

Marcee Rodriguez: “Dancing, like shows. Parties are anything. Everyone has some connection to the island.”

They make you sway.

Marcee has a problem that she wants to get rid of.

Marcee Rodriguez: “And I have a notification that there has been a change to my sunbiz.”

In Florida, business owners register their businesses with the state. Someone changed the file and said that Marcees and her husband owned electrical engineering companies.

Marcee Rodriguez: “I called Sunbiz and they said, ‘Well, there’s nothing we can do.’ We only accommodate records.’”

Marcee had to pay to have the information corrected.

A few days later, the person using the Raynold name switched records again.

Marcee paid for the repair, then the crook paid for the third replacement.

Marcee Rodriguez: “So I called Sunbiz again and said, ‘Hey, this has to stop, you know?’

Marcee wasn’t sure why anyone kept doing it, and then it was her.

Marcee Rodriguez: “And then I got a notification from Truist saying there was a change of address. He opened the account, I assume next thing he wanted to do was ask for a loan.”

Yes. The person who registered their electricity company in his name had attempted to open a bank account in the company’s name and at a different address.

Then he took out a loan and left it to Marcee and her husband to pay it back.

Marcee Rodriguez: “What he told the gentleman who opened his shop was that he had just bought the company from us.”

Marcee then tried to track down the person named Raynold who was after them.

Marcee Rodriguez: “And there come mug shots with all these crimes.”

Marcee says she has notified the state and the police, but nothing has happened so far.

Marcee Rodriguez: “Super frustrating.”

Well, Howard. If you own a business, can someone just call it by their name?

Howard Finkelstein, Legal Expert at 7News: “As of today, anyone can. It’s a crime, but rarely is anyone prosecuted. And the scammer doesn’t own the company just by putting it in their name. But the danger: With the fake document, they can open bank accounts and try to get loans. For this reason, business owners must regularly check that their records have not been altered.”

The Miami-Dade Police Department has informed us that this case is under investigation and they cannot tell us if they are trying to track down the person who hacked Marcee’s account.

We went to the address the person used when trying to open a bank account.

Patrick Fraser: “Is there a Raynold that lives here?

But there is good news. The state is finally trying to stop the crooks.

A spokesperson wrote that lawmakers gave us the authority to “implement a password-protected login system for Sunbiz to help business owners protect their assets from malicious actors.”

They hope to implement it by the end of the year.

Marcee Rodriguez: “It gives me a great feeling. I think it’s time they protect people and it shouldn’t be that easy.”

Marcee is convinced the criminal is no longer stalking her after she narrowly got together at the bank and got Help Me Howard’s attention.

Marcee Rodriguez: “Yes, absolutely. Thank you.”

I’m glad things have calmed down, Marcee. And the scammer must have been really confident of getting a bank loan because every time he charged the company’s corporate records, he had to pay an application fee. In case the crime didn’t pay off.

A company you own? Ready to dance away from them? Join us so we can light a fire for them.

This is where Howard is helping me, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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