New Oregon Law Seeks to Limit Fraud from Shell Companies

The Oregon legislature recently made several changes to the information businesses must provide to register and operate legally in the state.

The bill, which took effect on January 1, 2018, aims to prevent corporate fraud and illegal activity in Oregon. The bill is a response to news reports uncovering fraudulent "shell" companies in Oregon.

Shell companies are companies that exist on paper, but do not have offices or employees. They are often structured for financial purposes, but some are used to perpetrate fraud on unsuspecting businesses and consumers.

The law's goal is to ensure only legitimate businesses are allowed to operate in Oregon. It requires companies to provide additional information when starting new entities. The new law requires companies to provide:

  • A principal place of business when filing articles of incorporation or organization. This must be a physical street address. It cannot be a P.O. Box, virtual office, or mail-receiving or forwarding agency.
  • The name of an individual that is familiar with and has direct knowledge of the business's operations and activities.
  • A signature acknowledging the document filed does not misrepresent the identity of the business or its affiliates. This includes fraudulently concealing, obscuring or altering the identity.

The bill also allows the Oregon Secretary of State to investigate and enforce potential violations of Oregon's business code. An experienced attorney can help ensure your business complies with Oregon's new law. Contact Chenoweth Law Group at (503) 446-6261.

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