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BOISE -- A Michigan company has paid a $15,000 civil penalty over allegations that its direct-mail ads to Idaho businesses violated the state's Consumer Protection Act.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says Corporate Records Service of Saginaw, Mich., sent official-looking correspondence to Idaho businesses asking them to identify their shareholders, directors and officers. The company offered to prepare corporate minutes for $125. However, businesses that returned the form received only a blank notebook.

Wasden says the solicitation was sent to more than 14,500 businesses and that some believed they were required to complete the form and make the payment.

Wasden says Idaho law prohibits any marketing that might cause a reasonable consumer to believe an advertiser is associated with the government.

Businesses that returned the merchandise to Corporate Records received refunds.

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