Alert: Phishing Scam Claiming to Offer Money for Victims
Official–looking emails offering fraud compensation awards are being sent to Californians. These emails are not from the Secretary of State and may be part of an identify theft scam. Listed in this alert are resources for reporting suspicious emails and the appropriate government agencies to contact if you have been a victim of an Internet email scam.
The Victims of Corporate Fraud Compensation Fund (VCFCF) provides limited restitution to victims of corporate fraud who have otherwise been unable to collect on their judgment.
The statutes and regulations governing applications for payment from the VCFCF are California Corporations Code sections 2280 through 2296 and in California Code of Regulations, title 2, division 7, chapter 12, sections 22500 through 22507.
How the VCFCF Works
There are several important conditions to qualify for payment from the VCFCF. A claimant must have a final civil court judgment, judgment based on an arbitration award, or a criminal restitution order. The civil judgment or judgment based on an arbitration award must be against a corporation based on corporate fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit made with intent to defraud. A criminal restitution order must be against a corporation, or the corporation's officer or director, based on corporate fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit made with intent to defraud. For additional requirements, please refer to the Application Requirements page.
A corporation, or its agent, also may oppose a VCFCF application by providing a written response that includes evidence it believes shows the application does not meet the conditions for payment. General Information and Overview, Judgment Debtor Corporation Response (PDF).
Although the Secretary of State does not investigate or prosecute corporate fraud or any type of civil or criminal action against corporations, there are several agencies and resources available to assist in this area.
More detailed information on application procedures can be found on the Application Instructions page.
Notice Regarding COVID-19 and Fund Balance
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every sector of the state’s economy. In an effort to mitigate the worst effects of the public health crisis, encourage economic recovery, and support Californians in need, the state legislature authorized the Director of Finance to transfer up to $11.5 million from the VCFCF to the state’s General Fund. In July 2020, all $11.5 million authorized was transferred from the VCFCF to the General Fund.
The legislature required that the money be repaid when needed by the VCFCF or when no longer needed by the General Fund. Currently, the Secretary of State is working with the Director of Finance and state legislature to reacquire the loaned funds as the VCFCF’s contingent liabilities surpass the current balance of the fund.
Therefore, upon submission of an application for payment to the VCFCF, claimants will receive the following notice:
Notice pursuant to California Corporations Code section 2290: At this time, the money deposited in the fund may be insufficient to satisfy any duly authorized award or offer of settlement. When sufficient money has been deposited in the fund, the VCFCF will satisfy the unpaid awards or offers of settlement in the order that the awards or offers of settlement were received.
Please note, the Secretary of State continues to observe all statutory and regulatory requirements and deadlines. Applications for payment continue to be processed, and awards will be made to claimants that meet the requirements of Corporations Code section 2282. However, payments for an accepted award or offer to compromise may be delayed. The VCFCF will file accepted awards or offers to compromise chronologically, and payment will be made in the order that accepted awards or offers to compromise are filed once funds are available.
Please Contact the VCFCF if you have further questions or concerns.