Frequently Asked Questions






What is "corporate fraud?"

The concept of corporate fraud is very broad and encompasses a variety of criminal and civil violations. There is no single definition in the law. For VCFCF purposes, corporate fraud is fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit, made with intent to defraud, and involving a corporation. Some examples of corporate fraud may include, but are not limited to, fraud or illegal practice in the issuance or sale of securities, false reports or entries on corporate documents with intent to deceive, or purchase or sale of securities by a person having access to material information not available to the public through a special relationship with the issuer (insider trading).


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I think a corporation has defrauded me. How can the Secretary of State help me?

The investigation or prosecution of corporate fraud is left to other state, federal or local agencies. The Secretary of State has created a list of agencies and resources that can provide you with assistance. You may also wish to consult private legal counsel or your local District Attorney's office.


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I was defrauded by a corporation and can provide the proof to the Secretary of State. What is required before applying to the VCFCF?

There are certain minimum requirements before applying to the VCFCF. For example, you must have a final civil court judgment, judgment based on an arbitration award, or a criminal restitution order based on corporate fraud. Refer to the Application Requirements for additional information.


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What happens if the corporation I have a judgment against declares bankruptcy?

You have an obligation to protect the underlying judgment in bankruptcy. The debt must be declared nondischargeable to qualify for payment from the VCFCF. If bankruptcy proceedings are ongoing, you must file a claim in the bankruptcy, your judgment must be nondischargeable, and you must have permission from the bankruptcy court to proceed against the corporation.


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What do I do if the corporation that defrauded me has stopped doing business in California and I don't know how to locate the persons responsible?

The Secretary of State's California Business Search may help you find the corporation's most recent listed mailing address, and the name and address of the listed Agent for Service of Process. Additional information may be obtained by ordering a copy of the corporation's last complete Statement of Information filed with this office. You may use this information to consult private legal counsel to determine if legal action is necessary.


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How do I file a complaint against a corporation?

For assistance in determining where to file a complaint against a corporation and how to proceed, please refer to the Department of Consumer Affairs, Consumer Resource & Referral Guide. You may also wish to consult private legal counsel or your local District Attorney's office.


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Victims of Corporate
Fraud Compensation
Fund (VCFCF)




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