DOB: Rawlins & Rivera, Inc., a/k/a RRI, Inc. - NOI CD-CP

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IN THE MATTER OF:

RAWLINS & RIVERA, INC.
a Florida corporation
a/k/a RRI, INC.
("RRI Florida")

RAWLINS & RIVERA, INC.
a Georgia corporation
a/k/a RRI, INC.
("RRI Georgia")  
  
    (collectively, "Respondents")

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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-809-6 to 36a-809-17, inclusive, of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies).
 
Pursuant to the authority granted by Section 36a-17 of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes, the Commissioner, through the Consumer Credit Division (“Division”) of the Department of Banking, has investigated the activities of Respondents to determine if they have violated, are violating or are about to violate the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes.  
 
Section 36a-17(a) of the 2012 Supplement to the 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:
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 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.
RRI Florida is a Florida corporation with an office at 283 North Cranes Roost Boulevard, Suite 111, Altamonte Springs, Florida.
2.
RRI Georgia is a Georgia corporation with an office at 8343 Roswell Road, Suite 375, Atlanta, Georgia.
3.
Joe L. Hunt, Sr. has been the president and sole director of RRI Florida and the CEO, CFO and Secretary of RRI Georgia.
4.
Respondents have acted as a consumer collection agency in this state on behalf of at least three bail bonds agencies in attempts to collect premiums owed to such bail bonds agencies by Connecticut residents who, in many cases, had engaged the services of such bail bonds agencies to post bonds on such residents’ behalf.
5.
At no time relevant hereto was Respondent licensed to act as a consumer collection agency in Connecticut nor was Respondent otherwise exempt from such licensure.
6. By facsimile dated September 21, 2011, the Division informed Respondents that it had information indicating that Respondents were acting as a consumer collection agency in the state of Connecticut without requisite licensure and, among other things, gave Respondents an opportunity to apply for a license or explain why they would be exempt from licensing.
7.
By letter dated October 3, 2011, counsel for Respondents explained why Respondents believed they were exempt from licensing.  The Commissioner was not persuaded by such response.
 
 
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-800(3) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:
“Creditor” means a person . . . that retains, hires, or engages the services of a consumer collection agency[.]
Section 36a-801(a) of the 2012 Supplement to the 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 . . . .
Respondents’ acting within this state as a consumer collection agency without a consumer collection agency license, as more fully described in paragraphs 1 through 7, inclusive, of the Matters Asserted, constitutes a violation of Section 36a-801(a) of the 2012 Supplement to the 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 each Respondent in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation.
 
 
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 Respondents have engaged in acts or conduct which forms a basis to issue an order to cease and desist against Respondents 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.
 
NOW THEREFORE, notice is hereby given to Respondents that the Commissioner intends to issue an order requiring Respondents to CEASE AND DESIST from violating Section 36a-801(a) of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes and impose a CIVIL PENALTY upon Respondents as set forth herein, subject to each Respondent’s right to a hearing on the allegation set forth above.
 
A hearing will be granted to each 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 each 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 Sections 36a-50(a) and 36a-52(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 any 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 May 1, 2012, 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 Respondents fails to appear at the requested hearing.  At such hearing, Respondents 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 RRI Florida does not request a hearing within the time prescribed, the Commissioner will issue an order that RRI Florida cease and desist from violating Section 36a-801(a) of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes, and may order a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation be imposed upon RRI Florida.
 
If RRI Georgia does not request a hearing within the time prescribed, the Commissioner will issue an order that RRI Georgia cease and desist from violating Section 36a-801(a) of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes, and may order a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation be imposed upon RRI Georgia.
 
 
Issued at Hartford, Connecticut
this 7th day of March 2012.              ________/s/_________
                                                   Howard F. Pitkin
                                                   Banking Commissioner
 
 

CERTIFICATION
 
I hereby certify that on this 8th day of March 2012, 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 certified mail, return receipt requested, to:  Rawlins & Rivera, Inc. a/k/a RRI, Inc., Attention Joe L. Hunt, Sr., President, 283 North Cranes Roost Boulevard, Suite 111, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32701, certified mail no. 70112000000247358123; Rawlins & Rivera, Inc. a/k/a RRI, Inc., Attention:  CT Corporation System, Registered Agent, 1200 South Pine Island Road, Plantation, Florida 33324; certified mail no. 70112000000247358130; Rawlins & Rivera, Inc a/k/a RRI, Inc., Attention Joe L. Hunt, Sr., CEO, CFO, Secretary, 8343 Roswell Road, Suite 375, Atlanta, Georgia 30350, certified mail no. 70112000000247358147; Rawlins & Rivera, Inc. a/k/a RRI, Inc., Attention:  CT Corporation System, Registered Agent, 1201 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30361, certified mail no. 70112000000247358154; and Robert Bird, Esq., 283 Cranes Roost Boulevard, Suite 111, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32701, certified mail no. 70112000000247358161.
 
 
                                                   ________/s/_________
                                                   Doniel Kitt
                                                   Prosecuting Attorney
 

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