DOB: Riddle & Associates, P.C., Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Impose Civil Penalty

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IN THE MATTER OF:

RIDDLE & ASSOCIATES, P.C.

    (Respondent)

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NOTICE OF INTENT TO ISSUE
ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST

NOTICE OF INTENT TO IMPOSE
CIVIL PENALTY

AND

NOTICE OF RIGHT TO HEARING


I. LEGAL AUTHORITY AND JURISDICTION

The Banking Commissioner (“Commissioner”) is charged with the administration of Part XII of Chapter 669, Sections 36a-800 to 36a-810, inclusive, of the Connecticut General Statutes, “Consumer Collection Agencies”, and the regulations promulgated thereunder (Sections 36a-809-1 to 36a-809-5, inclusive, of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies) (“Regulations”).
 
Pursuant to the authority granted by Section 36a-17 of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Commissioner, through the Consumer Credit Division (“Division”) of the Department of Banking, has investigated the activities of Respondent to determine if it has violated, is violating or is about to violate the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes or the Regulations.  Section 36a-17(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides that:

The commissioner, in the commissioner’s discretion, may make such public or private investigations or examinations within or outside this state, concerning any person subject to the jurisdiction of the commissioner, as the commissioner deems necessary to carry out the duties of the commissioner.

Section 36a-52(a) of the 2008 Supplement to the General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

Whenever it appears to the commissioner that any person has violated, is violating or is about to violate any provision of the general statutes within the jurisdiction of the commissioner, . . . the commissioner may send a notice to such person by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, or by any express delivery carrier that provides a dated delivery receipt.  The notice shall be deemed received by the person on the earlier of the date of actual receipt, or seven days after mailing or sending.  Any such notice shall include:  (1) A statement of the time, place, and nature of the hearing; (2) a statement of the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held; (3) a reference to the particular sections of the general statutes . . . alleged to have been violated; (4) a short and plain statement of the matters asserted; and (5) a statement indicating that such person may file a written request for a hearing on the matters asserted within fourteen days of receipt of the notice.  If a hearing is requested within the time specified in the notice, the commissioner shall hold a hearing upon the matters asserted in the notice, unless the person fails to appear at the hearing.  After the hearing, the commissioner shall determine whether an order to cease and desist should be issued against the person named in the notice.  If the person does not request a hearing within the time specified in the notice or fails to appear at the hearing, the commissioner shall issue an order to cease and desist against the person.  No such order shall be issued except in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.

Section 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

(1) Whenever the commissioner finds as the result of an investigation that any person has violated any provision of the general statutes within the jurisdiction of the commissioner, . . . the commissioner may send a notice to such person by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, or by any express delivery carrier that provides a dated delivery receipt.  The notice shall be deemed received by the person on the earlier of the date of actual receipt or seven days after mailing or sending.  Any such notice shall include:  (A) A statement of the time, place, and nature of the hearing; (B) a statement of the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held; (C) a reference to the particular sections of the general statutes . . . alleged to have been violated; (D) a short and plain statement of the matters asserted; (E) the maximum penalty that may be imposed for such violation; and (F) a statement indicating that such person may file a written request for a hearing on the matters asserted within fourteen days of receipt of the notice.

(2)  If a hearing is requested within the time specified in the notice, the commissioner shall hold a hearing upon the matters asserted in the notice unless such person fails to appear at the hearing.  After the hearing, if the commissioner finds that the person has violated any such provision, . . . the commissioner may, in the commissioner’s discretion and in addition to any other remedy authorized by law, order that a civil penalty not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars per violation be imposed upon such person.  If such person does not request a hearing within the time specified in the notice or fails to appear at the hearing, the commissioner may, as the facts require, order that a civil penalty not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars per violation be imposed upon such person.

(3)  Each action undertaken by the commissioner under this subsection shall be in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.

Section 36a-804(b) of the 2008 Supplement to the General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

Whenever it appears to the commissioner that any person has violated, is violating or is about to violate any of the provisions of sections 36a-800 to 36a-810, inclusive, . . . the commissioner may take action against such person . . . in accordance with sections 36a-50 and 36a-52.

Section 36a-807(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

If the commissioner determines that any person has been engaged, or is engaging, in violations of sections 36a-801 to 36a-808, inclusive, in any act or practice prohibited in section 36a-805, . . . the commissioner may order such person to cease and desist from such practices in accordance with section 36a-52.  In that connection, the commissioner may exercise the powers contained in section 36a-17.

Section 36a-808 of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

[W]henever it appears to the commissioner that any . . . person has violated, is violating, or is about to violate any provision of sections 36a-800 to 36a-810, inclusive, . . . the commissioner may take action against such . . . person in accordance with section 36a-50.

Section 36a-809 of the Connecticut General Statutes provides that:

The powers vested in the commissioner by sections 36a-805 to 36a-808, inclusive, shall be additional to any other powers to enforce any penalties, fines or forfeitures authorized by law with respect to the methods, acts and practices prohibited or declared to be unfair or deceptive . . . .


II.  MATTERS ASSERTED

1.
Respondent is a Utah professional corporation with its main office during the relevant time period located at 11778 South Election Drive, Suite 240, Draper, Utah.
2.
From at least July 5, 2000 to September 30, 2007, Respondent was licensed by the Commissioner as a consumer collection agency in Connecticut.  Respondent has not been licensed with the Commissioner since September 30, 2007.
3.
From approximately October 10, 2007 to March 25, 2008, Respondent attempted to collect consumer debts on at least four occasions from Connecticut residents on behalf of at least one bank and one satellite television provider.
 

III.  STATUTORY BASIS FOR ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST
AND IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY

Section 36a-800(1) of the 2008 Supplement to the General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

“Consumer collection agency” means any person engaged in the business of collecting or receiving for payment for others of any account, bill or other indebtedness from a consumer debtor . . . .

Section 36a-800(2) of the 2008 Supplement to the General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

“Consumer debtor” means any natural person, not an organization, who has incurred indebtedness or owes a debt for personal, family or household purposes . . . .

Section 36a-801(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

No person shall act within this state as a consumer collection agency without a consumer collection agency license.  A consumer collection agency is acting within this state if it . . . (3) has its place of business located outside this state and regularly collects from consumer debtors . . . who reside within this state for creditors who are located outside this state . . . .

1.
Respondent’s acting within this state as a consumer collection agency, as more fully described in paragraph 3 of the Matters Asserted, constitutes a violation of Section 36a-801(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, which forms the basis to issue an order to cease and desist pursuant to Sections 36a-804(b) and 36a-52(a) of the 2008 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-807(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and an order imposing civil penalty pursuant to Section 36a-804(b) of the 2008 Supplement to the General Statutes and Sections 36a-808 and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  Section 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes authorizes the Commissioner to impose a civil penalty upon Respondent in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation.  The Commissioner intends to impose a maximum civil penalty upon Respondent not to exceed Four Hundred Thousand Dollars ($400,000), subject to Respondent’s right to a hearing on the allegations set forth above.
 

IV.  NOTICE OF INTENT TO ISSUE ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST,
NOTICE OF INTENT TO IMPOSE CIVIL PENALTY
AND NOTICE OF RIGHT TO HEARING

WHEREAS, the Commissioner has reason to believe that Respondent has engaged in acts or conduct which form a basis to issue an order to cease and desist against Respondent pursuant to Sections 36a-804(b) and 36a-52(a) of the 2008 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-807(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and to impose a civil penalty against Respondent for each violation pursuant to Section 36a-804(b) of the 2008 Supplement to the General Statutes and Sections 36a-808 and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes;

NOW THEREFORE, notice is hereby given to Respondent that the Commissioner intends to issue an order requiring Respondent to CEASE AND DESIST from violating Section 36a-801(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and impose a CIVIL PENALTY upon Respondent in an amount not to exceed Four Hundred Thousand Dollars ($400,000), subject to its right to a hearing on the allegations set forth above.
 
A hearing will be granted to Respondent if a written request for a hearing is received by the Department of Banking, Legal Division, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut 06103-1800 within fourteen (14) days following Respondent’s receipt of this Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty and Notice of Right to Hearing as set forth in Section 36a-52(a) of the 2008 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  This Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty and Notice of Right to Hearing shall be deemed received on the earlier of the date of actual receipt, or seven days after mailing or sending.  The enclosed Appearance and Request for Hearing Form must be completed and mailed to the above address.  If Respondent will not be represented by an attorney at the hearing, please complete the Appearance and Request for Hearing Form as “pro se”.  Once a written request for a hearing is received, the Commissioner may issue a notification of hearing and designation of hearing officer that acknowledges receipt of a request for a hearing, designates a hearing officer and sets the date of the hearing in accordance with Section 4-177 of the Connecticut General Statutes and Section 36a-1-21 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.  If a hearing is requested, the hearing will be held on October 22, 2008, at 9 a.m. at the Department of Banking, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut.
 
The hearing will be held in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 54 of the Connecticut General Statutes, unless Respondent fails to appear at the requested hearing.  At such hearing, Respondent will have the right to appear and present evidence, rebuttal evidence and argument on all issues of fact and law to be considered by the Commissioner.
 
If Respondent does not request a hearing within the time prescribed, the Commissioner will issue an order that Respondent cease and desist from violating Section 36a-801(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and may order that the maximum civil penalty in an amount not to exceed Four Hundred Thousand Dollars ($400,000) be imposed upon Respondent.


So ordered at Hartford, Connecticut
this 29th day of August 2008.                       ________/s/_________
                                                               Howard F. Pitkin
                                                               Banking Commissioner


 

CERTIFICATION

I hereby certify that on this 29th day of August 2008, the foregoing Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty and Notice of Right to Hearing was sent by registered mail, return receipt requested, to Riddle & Associates, P.C., 11778 South Election Drive, Suite 240, Draper, Utah 84020-6808, registered mail no. RB028035075US.

                                                              ________/s/_________
                                                              Jesse B. Silverman
                                                              Prosecuting Attorney
 


Administrative Orders and Settlements