DOB: News Bulletin 2083 - January 23, 2004

The Department of Banking News Bulletin 

 Bulletin # 2083
Week Ending January 23, 2004

This bulletin constitutes the only official notification you will receive from this office concerning any of the following applications. Any observations you may have are solicited. Any comments should be in writing to John P. Burke, Commissioner of Banking, at the Connecticut Department of Banking, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, CT 06103-1800 or via E-mail to john.burke@ct.gov. Written comments will be considered only if they are received within ten days from the date of this bulletin.


BRANCH ACTIVITY

Section 36a-145 of the Connecticut General Statutes requires that each application for a branch, or for a limited branch at which loans will be made, be accompanied by a plan detailing how adequate services to meet the banking needs of all community residents will be provided. Plans are submitted when such applications are filed and are available for public inspection and comment at this Department for a period of 30 days. Questions concerning branch activity should be directed to the Bank Examination Division, (860) 240-8180.
Note: dates are listed in month/day/year format.

State Bank Activity

Date Bank Location Activity
1/17/04 People's Bank
Bridgeport
FROM:  962 Farmington Avenue
           West Hartford, CT   06107
TO:      1013 Farmington Avenue
           West Hartford, CT   06107
relocation
effective
date

NOTICE OF INTENT TO ADOPT REGULATIONS

The Commissioner is issuing a Notice of Intent to Adopt Regulations concerning the Department of Bankingís description of its organization and its rules of practice setting forth the nature and requirements of all formal and informal procedures. Interested persons who wish to receive copies of the proposed regulations may contact the Legal Division of the Department at 860-240-8142, or view the proposed regulations at the Departmentís website.

 

 SECURITIES AND BUSINESS INVESTMENTS DIVISION ACTIVITY
California Firm Fined $20,000 for Selling Unregistered
Limited Partnership Interests

On January 20, 2004, the Commissioner entered an Order Imposing Fine against Telecom Entertainment a/k/a Telecom Action Entertainment, LP of 1323 Lincoln Boulevard, Suite 200, Santa Monica, California. The respondent had been the subject of a related November 13, 2003 Order to Cease and Desist and Notice of Intent to Fine based upon the same conduct underlying the Order Imposing Fine. In fining the respondent $20,000, the Commissioner found that, from at least December 2001 forward, the respondent had 1) violated Section 36b-16 of the Connecticut Uniform Securities Act by selling unregistered non-exempt limited partnership units in Connecticut; and 2) violated the antifraud provisions in Section 36b-4 of the Act by failing to disclose the existence of sanctions levied against it by the States of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania on May 16, 2000 and May 22, 2001, respectively, and by falsely representing that its securities offering was low risk and that return of principal was assured. The respondent did not contest the imposition of the fine.

  New York Man Fined $5,000; Order to Cease and Desist
Becomes Permanent

On January 23, 2004, the Commissioner entered a Consent Order with respect to Mark M. Eisenberg of Long Beach, New York. The respondent had been the subject of an October 21, 2003 Order to Cease and Desist and Notice of Right to Hearing whose allegations the Consent Order resolved. The Order to Cease and Desist had claimed that in September 2001, the respondent engaged in an unethical practice in the securities business by instructing the chief compliance officer of Vision Securities Inc., a Connecticut-registered broker-dealer, to deny Securities and Business Investments Division examiners access to the books and records of the firm. At the time, the respondent was registered as an agent of the firm and served as the firmís president as well as the chairman of the Lantern Investments, Inc., owner of Vision Securities, Inc.

The Consent Order rendered the October 21, 2003 Order to Cease and Desist permanent, and required that the respondent pay a $5,000 fine.

Virginia Firm Fined $2,500 for Employing Unregistered Investment AdviserAgents and Unregistered Broker-dealer Agent

On January 23, 2004, the Commissioner entered into a Stipulation and Agreement with Wachovia Securities, LLC of 901 East Byrd Street, Richmond, Virginia. The Stipulation and Agreement claimed that the firm, a registered broker-dealer and SEC-regulated investment adviser, 1) employed at least three unregistered investment adviser agents since March, 2002 in purported violation of Section 36b-6(c) of the Connecticut Uniform Securities Act; and 2) employed an unregistered broker-dealer agent from January 1, 2002 to January 21, 2003 in purported violation of Section 36b-6(b) of the Act.

Pursuant to the Stipulation and Agreement, the firm agreed to pay a $2,500 fine, review its supervisory and compliance procedures concerning the licensing of investment adviser agents and broker-dealer agents and modify those procedures to ensure prompt and accurate renewal processing.

 CONSUMER CREDIT DIVISION ACTIVITY

On January 22, 2004, the Commissioner entered into a settlement agreement with Ameriquest Mortgage Company ("Ameriquest") and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Argent Mortgage Company, LLC ("Argent") and Town & Country Credit Corporation ("Town & Country"). The Settlement Agreement was based on an examination by the Consumer Credit Division that found that from October 1, 2001 through July 2003, Respondents, in violation of Section 36a-498a of the Connecticut General Statutes, imposed prepaid finance charges on mortgage loans issued to Connecticut consumers that exceeded the aggregate five percent maximum amount that may be charged or imposed on the initial principal loan amount and refinancings, and on additional proceeds on refinancings by Respondents or an affiliate within two years from the date of the initial loan. Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, Ameriquest agreed to refund to 121 affected Connecticut consumers $600,382.02; Argent agreed to refund to two affected Connecticut consumers $1,975.40; and Town & Country agreed to refund to one affected Connecticut consumer $1,195.54. In addition to the refunds, Respondents agreed to pay an additional $500 to each of the 124 affected Connecticut consumers and collectively remitted to the Department of Banking $5,000 as a civil penalty.

Dated: Tuesday, January 27, 2004

John P. Burke
Commissioner