Secrecy Inc in the USA
Part one, a special report by Brian Grow and Kelly Carr, focuses on a little house in Cheyenne, Wyoming that is home to more than 2,000 companies.
The building isn’t a shimmering skyscraper filled with A-list corporations. It’s a 1,700-square-foot brick house with a manicured lawn. All the activity at this house is part of a little-noticed industry in the United States: the mass production of paper businesses.
The pervasiveness of corporate secrecy on America’s shores stands in stark contrast to Washington’s call on the rest of the world to beef up disclosure. A Reuters investigation shows how some clients of mass incorporators are abusing the system.
As the story says:
During a debate in 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama singled out Ugland House in the Cayman Islands, reportedly home to some 12,000 offshore corporations, as “either the biggest building or the biggest tax scam on record.”
Yet on U.S. soil, similar activity is perfectly legal. The incorporation industry, overseen by officials in the 50 states, has few rules. Convicted felons can operate firms which create companies, and buy them with no background checks.
The special report “A little house of secrets on the Great Plains” is available in PDF format here: