DOB: 1st American Debt Solutions - Modification Repay-CP

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IN THE MATTER OF:

1st AMERICAN DEBT SOLUTIONS
LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY
a/k/a LEGAL SETTLEMENT
SOLUTIONS, LLC
("1st American")

THE PUREWAL LAW GROUP
A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION
d/b/a LEGAL NETWORK OF
AMERICA (LNOA)
("LNOA")

SETTLEMENT CORPORATION
OF AMERICA
("SCOA")

    (collectively "Respondents")

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MODIFICATION TO ORDER OF
REPAYMENT OF FEES

AND

MODIFICATION TO ORDER
IMPOSING CIVIL PENALTY

 
WHEREAS, the Banking Commissioner (“Commissioner”) is charged with the administration of Sections 36a-671 to 36a-671d, inclusive, of the Connecticut General Statutes contained in Part II of Chapter 669 of the Connecticut General Statutes, “Debt Adjusters and Debt Negotiation”;
 
WHEREAS, on December 13, 2011, the Commissioner, acting pursuant to Sections 36a-671a(b), 36a-671a(c) 36a-52(b), 36a-52(a) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, issued a 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 (collectively “Notice”) against Respondents;
 
WHEREAS, on December 13, 2011, the Notice was sent by registered mail, return receipt requested, to 1st American (Registered Mail No. RB028020654US);
 
WHEREAS, on December 13, 2011, the Notice was sent by registered mail, return receipt requested, to LNOA (Registered Mail No. RB028020668US);
 
WHEREAS, on December 13, 2011, the Notice was sent by registered mail, return receipt requested, to LNOA’s agent (Registered Mail No. RB028020671US);
 
WHEREAS, on December 13, 2011, the Notice was sent by registered mail, return receipt requested, to SCOA (Registered Mail No. RA878574729US);
 
WHEREAS, the Notice provided Respondents with the opportunity for a hearing, and stated that if a hearing was not requested by any Respondent within 14 days of its receipt, the Commissioner would issue an order that such Respondent cease and desist from violating Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and may order that the maximum civil penalty not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) be imposed upon such Respondent;
 
WHEREAS, on December 16, 2011, LNOA and SCOA received the Notice and on January 3, 2012, LNOA and SCOA requested a hearing, which hearing is currently scheduled for June 6, 2012;
 
WHEREAS, on December 19, 2011, 1st American received the Notice and no request for a hearing was received by the Commissioner;
 
WHEREAS, on January 23, 2012, the Commissioner, acting pursuant to Sections 36a-671a(b), 36a-52(a), 36a-50(a) and 36a-671a(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes, issued an Order to Cease and Desist, Order of Repayment of Fees and Order Imposing Civil Penalty against 1st American (“Order);
 
WHEREAS, the Commissioner ordered in the Order, in pertinent part, that:

"2.
A CIVIL PENALTY of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) be imposed against 1st American Debt Solutions Limited Liability Company a/k/a Legal Settlement Solutions, LLC, to be remitted to the Department of Banking by cashier’s check, certified check or money order, made payable to ‘Treasurer, State of Connecticut’, no later than thirty (30) days from the date this Order is mailed;
3.
No later than ten (10) days from the date this order is mailed, 1st American Debt Solutions Limited Liability Company a/k/a Legal Settlement Solutions, LLC shall REPAY FEES in the amount of Five Hundred Forty Dollars and 73/100 ($540.73) by cashier’s check, certified check or money order, to be remitted and made payable to the Connecticut resident identified in Exhibit A attached thereto, and shall REPAY ALL FEES received from the Connecticut residents identified in Exhibit B attached hereto by cashier’s check, certified check or money order, to be remitted and made payable to the Connecticut resident, and shall provide to Carmine Costa, Director, Consumer Credit Division, Department of Banking, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut 06103-1800, or carmine.costa@ct.gov evidence of such repayment;”
 
WHEREAS, by letter dated February 9, 2012, counsel for 1st American requested reconsideration of the Order, or in the alternative that it be provided a hearing, based upon a representation that on January 4, 2012, counsel for LNOA e-mailed Salvatore Puglia of 1st American expressly assuring Mr. Puglia that LNOA’s counsel would “be writing a letter and will include a reference to . . . [1st American’s] role providing leads to the law firm”.  Counsel for 1st American also represented that in the e-mail LNOA represented that it would provide the refund to the one client listed on Exhibit A that was marketed to by 1st American, and attached a copy of the e-mail;
 
WHEREAS, by letter dated March 1, 2012, the Commissioner informed 1st American that in letters submitted to the Department of Banking (“Department”) by counsel for LNOA and SCOA dated January 26 and February 15, 2012, counsel for such companies did not make any reference to or representation on behalf of 1st American and denied 1st American’s request for a hearing.  In the March 1, 2012 letter, the Commissioner, acting pursuant to Section 4-181a(a)(2) of the Connecticut General Statutes, indicated his decision to reconsider the Order;
 
WHEREAS, in subsequent communications with the Department, counsel for LNOA has never made any reference to or representation on behalf of 1st American;
 
AND WHEREAS, in the March 1, 2012, letter the Commissioner noted that the Notice required 1st American and LNOA to provide the Department with a list of all Connecticut residents with whom either 1st American or LNOA have entered into agreements for debt negotiation services to date where such agreements were entered into on or after October 1, 2009, and that as of March 1, 2012, the Department had not received any such list from 1st American.  Based upon information subsequently provided to the Department by LNOA, it appears that Nick Puglia of 1st American enrolled at least one (1) person other than the person listed on Exhibit A to the Order, that 1st American had at least three (3) other “Debt Consultants” who enrolled Connecticut residents, and that at least three (3) of the additional Connecticut residents are listed on Exhibit B to the Order.
 
NOW THEREFORE, I HEREBY MODIFY THE ORDER, pursuant to Section 4-181a(a)(3) of the Connecticut General Statutes, as follows:

"2.
A CIVIL PENALTY of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000) be imposed against 1st American Debt Solutions Limited Liability Company a/k/a Legal Settlement Solutions, LLC, to be remitted to the Department of Banking by cashier’s check, certified check or money order, made payable to ‘Treasurer, State of Connecticut’, no later than thirty (30) days from the date this Order is mailed;
3.
No later than ten (10) days from the date this order is mailed, 1st American Debt Solutions Limited Liability Company a/k/a Legal Settlement Solutions, LLC shall REPAY FEES in the amount of Five Hundred Forty and 73/100 Dollars ($540.73) by cashier’s check, certified check or money order, to be remitted and made payable to the Connecticut resident identified in Exhibit A attached thereto, and shall REPAY ALL FEES received from the Connecticut residents identified in Exhibit B attached hereto by cashier’s check, certified check or money order, to be remitted and made payable to the Connecticut resident, and shall provide to Carmine Costa, Director, Consumer Credit Division, Department of Banking, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut 06103-1800, or carmine.costa@ct.gov evidence of such repayment;”

This Modification to Order of Repayment of Fees and Modification to Order Imposing Civil Penalty shall become effective when mailed.  The time periods referenced in paragraphs 2 and 3 above shall commence on the effective date of this Modification.

 

So ordered at Hartford, Connecticut
this 29th day of May 2012.                        ________/s/_________
                                                            Howard F. Pitkin
                                                            Banking Commissioner



This Modification was sent by certified mail,
return receipt requested, to
Respondents on May 29, 2012.


 
Richard D. Gallucci, Jr., Esq.           Certified Mail No. 7011 0470 0002 2573 2335
LaulettaBirnbaum, LLC
Washington Professional Campus
860 Route 168, Suite 204
Turnersville, NJ 08012

William R. Mitchell, Esq.                 Certified Mail No. 7011 0470 0002 2573 2342
31351 Rancho Viejo Road, Suite 202
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675



Administrative Orders and Settlements