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updated 4/3/2008 10:26:52 AM ET 2008-04-03T14:26:52

A Web site that says it will help people find money they didn't know they owned is misleading and violates Pennsylvania consumer law, state prosecutors said in a lawsuit.

When investigators plugged in the names of cartoon characters such as Batman, Spiderman and Wile E. Coyote at http://www.unclaimedmoney.us.com/, it told them they had multiple caches of unclaimed money, the state attorney general's office said.

The catch was that free search provided only vague information, and the Web site charged $24.95 for a membership that would produce details, the office said.

Instead of paying for such information, Attorney General Tom Corbett said consumers looking for unclaimed property can visit http://www.missingmoney.com/, a Web site made with information from — and the blessing of — many states' unclaimed property administrators.

Corbett's office sued the Web site, Waltham, Mass., resident Areg A. Sakanyan, and related business entities Modeling Group, Unclaimed Money Database and Unclaimed Money last week, saying they deceived consumers, violated reporting requirements and did not deliver what they promised.

A phone number for Sakanyan could not be located, and it was not clear whether he had a lawyer. In response to a request for comment, the Web site's operator sent an e-mail acknowledging receiving a notice of the lawsuit but did not comment.

The attorney general's office wants the court to stop the site from operating and to grant restitution for consumers and assess civil fines and other penalties.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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