DOB: North American Asset - Temp CD-NOI CD-CP

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IN THE MATTER OF:

NORTH AMERICAN ASSET
SERVICES, LLC
d/b/a FRONTIER FINANCIAL GROUP
a/k/a FFG & ASSOCIATES

    ("Respondent")

 
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TEMPORARY ORDER TO
CEASE AND DESIST

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-809-6 to 36a-809-17, 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. 
 
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 Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

(a)  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.

(b)  If the commissioner finds that the public welfare requires immediate action, the commissioner may incorporate a finding to that effect in the notice sent in accordance with subsection (a) of this section and issue a temporary order requiring the person to cease and desist from the activity which constitutes such alleged violation and to take or refrain from taking such action as in the opinion of the commissioner will effectuate the purposes of this section.  Such temporary order shall become effective on receipt and, unless set aside or modified by a court, shall remain in effect until the effective date of a permanent order or dismissal of the matters asserted in the notice.

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 Connecticut 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.


II.  MATTERS ASSERTED

1.
Respondent is a Nevada limited liability company with an office at 1291 Galleria Drive, Suites 125 and 170, Henderson, Nevada.
2.
During the period of May 2009 to the present, Respondent, on behalf of creditors located either within or outside of this state, attempted to collect or collected consumer debts from approximately two thousand seven hundred ninety-one (2,791) Connecticut consumer debtors.
3.
At no time relevant hereto was Respondent licensed to act as a consumer collection agency in Connecticut nor was Respondent otherwise exempt from licensure.
 

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

Section 36a-800(1) of the Connecticut 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 Connecticut 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 . . . (2) has its place of business located outside this state and collects from consumer debtors . . . who reside within this state for creditors who are located within this state; (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 . . . .

Respondent’s acting within this state as a consumer collection agency without a consumer collection agency license, as more fully described in paragraphs 1 through 3, inclusive, of the Matters Asserted, constitutes a violation of Section 36a-801(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  Such violation forms the basis to issue an order to cease and desist pursuant to Sections 36a-804(b) and 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes and an order imposing civil penalty pursuant to Sections 36a-804(b) 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 Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000), subject to Respondent’s right to a hearing on the allegations set forth above.


IV.  FINDINGS AND STATUTORY BASIS FOR
TEMPORARY ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST

The Commissioner finds that public welfare requires immediate action to issue a temporary order requiring Respondent to cease and desist from violating Section 36a-801(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, pursuant to Section 36a-52(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes, in that due to Respondent’s failure to obtain a consumer collection agency license and to file the required surety bond, any person who may be damaged by the wrongful conversion of any creditor or consumer debtor funds held by the Respondent will not be able to proceed on such surety bonds to recover damages.


IV.  TEMPORARY ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST, 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 forms a basis to issue an order to cease and desist against Respondent pursuant to Sections 36a-804(b) and 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes and to impose a civil penalty pursuant to Sections 36a-804(b) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes.
 
AND WHEREAS, the Commissioner has made the findings required under Section 36a-52(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes.
 
THE COMMISSIONER THEREFORE ORDERS, pursuant to Section 36a-52(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes, that North American Asset Services, LLC d/b/a Frontier Financial Group a/k/a FFG & Associates immediately CEASE AND DESIST from violating Section 36a-801(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  This Temporary Order shall become effective upon receipt by North American Asset Services, LLC d/b/a Frontier Financial Group a/k/a FFG & Associates, and, unless set aside or modified by a court, shall remain in effect until the effective date of a permanent order or dismissal of the matters asserted in this Temporary Order.
 
FURTHER, 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 as set forth herein, 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, Consumer Credit Division, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut 06103-1800 within fourteen (14) days following its receipt of this Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, 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 Sections 36a-52(a) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  This Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, 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 June 15, 2011, at 10 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 a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000) be imposed upon Respondent.


So ordered at Hartford, Connecticut
this 6th of April 2011.                                  ________/s/_________
                                                               Howard F. Pitkin
                                                               Banking Commissioner


CERTIFICATION

I hereby certify that on this 7th day of April 2011, the foregoing Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, 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 North American Asset Services, LLC d/b/a Frontier Financial Group a/k/a FFG & Associates, Attention:  Jeanette Hommerson, 1291 Galleria Drive, Suite 170, Henderson, Nevada 89014, registered mail no. RB028037853US; and Attention:  Paula Engelbrecht, 1291 Galleria Drive, Suite 125, Henderson, Nevada 98014, registered mail no.RB028037867US.

                                                              ________/s/_________
                                                              Doniel Kitt
                                                              Prosecuting Attorney
 


Administrative Orders and Settlements