(a) What constitutes filing. -- Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this section, communication of a record to a filing office and tender of the filing fee or acceptance of the record by the filing office constitutes filing.
(b) Refusal to accept record; filing does not occur. -- Filing does not occur with respect to a record that a filing office refuses to accept because:
(1) The record is not communicated by a method or medium of communication authorized by the filing office;
(2) An amount equal to or greater than the applicable filing fee is not tendered;
(3) The filing office is unable to index the record because:
(A) In the case of an initial financing statement, the record does not provide a name for the debtor;
(B) In the case of an amendment or information statement, the record:
(i) Does not identify the initial financing statement as required by section 9-512 or 9-518, as applicable; or
(ii) Identifies an initial financing statement whose effectiveness has lapsed under section 9-515;
(C) In the case of an initial financing statement that provides the name of a debtor identified as an individual or an amendment that provides a name of a debtor identified as an individual which was not previously provided in the financing statement to which the record relates, the record does not identify the debtor's surname; or
(D) In the case of a record filed or recorded in the filing office described in section 9-501(a)(1), the record does not provide a sufficient description of the real property to which it relates;
(4) In the case of an initial financing statement or an amendment that adds a secured party of record, the record does not provide a name and mailing address for the secured party of record;
(5) In the case of an initial financing statement or an amendment that provides a name of a debtor which was not previously provided in the financing statement to which the amendment relates, the record does not:
(A) Provide a mailing address for the debtor;
(B) Indicate whether the name provided as the name of the debtor is the name of an individual or an organization;
(6) In the case of an assignment reflected in an initial financing statement under section 9-514(a) or an amendment filed under section 9-514(b), the record does not provide a name and mailing address for the assignee; or
(7) In the case of a continuation statement, the record is not filed within the six-month period prescribed by section 9-515(d).
(c) Rules applicable to subsection (b). -- For purposes of subsection (b):
(1) A record does not provide information if the filing office is unable to read or decipher the information; and
(2) A record that does not indicate that it is an amendment or identify an initial financing statement to which it relates, as required by section 9-512, 9-514 or 9-518, is an initial financing statement.
(d) Refusal to accept record; record effective as filed record. -- A record that is communicated to the filing office with tender of the filing fee, but which the filing office refuses to accept for a reason other than one set forth in subsection (b) of this section, is effective as a filed record except as against a purchaser of the collateral which gives value in reasonable reliance upon the absence of the record from the files.
(e) Administrative review. -- If the Secretary of State determines that a financing statement which identities a public official or employee as a debtor is fraudulent or that an individual debtor and an individual secured party would appear to be the same individual on the financing statement or that the individual debtor claims to be a transmitting utility, without supporting documents, the Secretary may commence administrative proceedings to remove the statement from its records in accordance with the provisions of article five, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
(1) Upon the commencement of proceedings pursuant to this subsection, the Secretary of State shall identify the financing statement in its records as subject to administrative review and publish a notice in the West Virginia Register regarding the proceedings.
(2) A financing statement may be found to be fraudulent only if, based upon clear and convincing evidence, no good faith basis exists upon which to conclude that the secured party was authorized to file the statement and the statement was submitted for the purpose of harassment or intimidation or fraudulent intent of the alleged debtor.
(3) If upon the completion of administrative review, it is determined that the filing of a financing statement was fraudulent, the filing party shall be assessed all costs incurred by the Secretary in reaching a final determination, including reimbursement for all costs of the hearing. The filing party may also be subject to a civil penalty not exceeding $500 per fraudulent filing. If upon completion of administrative review or any subsequent appeal of a decision of the Secretary of State, it is determined that a filing subject to appeal is not fraudulent, the secretary or court may award the prevailing party reasonable costs and expenses, including attorney fees.
(4) The Secretary of State shall annually submit a report to the Legislature regarding actions taken against fraudulent filings pursuant to this section which identifies the number and characteristics of such proceedings, identifies any creditors found to have made fraudulent filings, describes proceedings initiated by the secretary in which it is ultimately determined that fraudulent filings did not occur, describes the number and type of complaints received by the secretary in which it is alleged that fraudulent filings have occurred, and describes the actions taken by the secretary to investigate complaints concerning allegedly fraudulent filings and the results of the investigations.
(5) A decision by the secretary to remove a financing statement determined to have been fraudulently filed subject to appeal de novo to the circuit court of Kanawha County. Pending the outcome of an appeal, the financing statement may not be removed from the records of the Secretary, but shall be identified in the records as having been adjudicated to be fraudulent, subject to a pending appeal by the putative creditor.
(6) A financing statement filed by a regulated financial institution is not subject to the provisions of this section. For the purposes of this section, a regulated financial institution is a bank, bank and trust company, trust company, savings bank, savings association, building and loan association, credit union, consumer finance company, insurance company, investment company, mortgage lender or broker, securities broker, dealer or underwriter, or other institution chartered, licensed, registered or otherwise authorized under federal law, the law of this state or any other state, to engage in secured lending. Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session