DOB: Frog Bridge Check Cashing Plus - NOI Ref Ren

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IN THE MATTER OF:

FROG BRIDGE CHECK
CASHING PLUS, LLC

    ("Respondent")

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NOTICE OF INTENT TO REFUSE TO
RENEW CHECK CASHING
SERVICE LICENSE

AND

NOTICE OF RIGHT TO HEARING

I. LEGAL AUTHORITY AND JURISDICTION

The Banking Commissioner (“Commissioner”) is charged with the administration of Part IV of Chapter 668, Sections 36a-580 to 36a-589, inclusive, of the Connecticut General Statutes, “Check Cashing Services” and Sections 36a-585-1, 36a-588-1, 36a-588-3 and 36a-588-4 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies (“Regulations”).
 
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 Respondent to determine if it has violated, is violating or is about to violate the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes or Regulations within the jurisdiction of the Commissioner. 
 
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.

Subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

(a)  The commissioner may . . . refuse to renew any license issued by the commissioner under any provision of the general statutes by sending a notice to the licensee 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 licensee 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, [or] regulations . . . involved; (4) a short and plain statement of the matters asserted; and (5) a statement indicating that the licensee may file a written request for a hearing on the matters asserted within fourteen days of receipt of the notice.  If the commissioner finds that public health, safety or welfare imperatively requires emergency action, and incorporates a finding to that effect in the notice, the commissioner may order summary suspension of a license in accordance with subsection (c) of section 4-182 and require the licensee to take or refrain from taking such action as in the opinion of the commissioner will effectuate the purposes of this section, pending proceedings for . . . refusal to renew.

(b)  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 licensee fails to appear at the hearing.  After the hearing, the commissioner shall . . . refuse to renew the license for any reason set forth in the applicable licensing provisions of the general statutes if the commissioner finds sufficient grounds exist for such . . . refusal to renew.  If the licensee does not request a hearing within the time specified in the notice or fails to appear at the hearing, the commissioner shall . . . refuse to renew the license.

Section 4-182 of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

(b)  When a licensee has made timely and sufficient application for the renewal of a license . . . , the existing license shall not expire until the application has been finally determined by the agency . . . .

(c)  No revocation, suspension, annulment or withdrawal of any license is lawful unless, prior to the institution of agency proceedings, the agency gave notice by mail to the licensee of facts or conduct which warrant the intended action, and the licensee was given an opportunity to show compliance with all lawful requirements for the retention of the license.


II.  MATTERS ASSERTED

1.
Respondent is a Connecticut limited liability company with its main office at 31 Church Street, Willimantic, Connecticut.
2.
At all times relevant hereto, Respondent has been licensed to operate a general facility to engage in the business of cashing checks, drafts or money orders.
3.
At all times relevant hereto, Janice Abella (“Abella”) was the sole owner of Respondent.
4.
On September 26, 2011, Respondent filed a Renewal of Check Cashing Service License – Main
Office General Facility application for the October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2013 renewal period (“Renewal Application”).
5.
As part of an examination of Respondent, an examiner with the Division sent a letter to Abella dated February 17, 2012, in which such examiner requested that Respondent provide certain books, records and accounts required to be maintained pursuant to Section 36a-588-3 of the Regulation.
6.
On March 16, 2012, the examiner spoke with Abella via telephone and requested that Respondent submit its 2011 unaudited unconsolidated financial statement by March 23, 2012.
7.
On March 22, 2012, at the request of Abella, the examiner faxed to Abella a copy of the February 17, 2012, letter, as more fully described in paragraph 5 above.
8. On or about April 2, 2012, the Division sent a letter by certified mail to Respondent, pursuant to Section 4-182(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes, giving Respondent an opportunity to show compliance with all lawful requirements for the retention of its check cashing service license (“Compliance Letter”).  Respondent received the Compliance Letter on April 3, 2012.
9.
To date, the Commissioner has not received the requested books, records and accounts, as more fully described in paragraph 5 and 7 above, or financial statement, as more fully described in paragraph 6 above, nor has the Commissioner received a response to the Compliance Letter, as more fully described in paragraph 8 above.
 

III.  STATUTORY BASIS FOR REFUSAL TO RENEW OF
CHECK CASHING SERVICE LICENSE

Section 36a-581(e) of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

Upon the filing of the required application and the applicable license and location fees, the commissioner shall investigate the facts and may issue a license if the commissioner finds that . . . (4) if the applicant is a limited liability company, each member and authorized agent is in all respects properly qualified and of good character . . . . 

Section 36a-587(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

The commissioner may . . . refuse to renew any license issued pursuant to section 36a-581 or take any other action, in accordance with the provisions of section 36a-51, for any reason which would be sufficient grounds for the commissioner to deny an application for a license under sections 36a-580 to 36a-589, inclusive, or if the commissioner finds that the licensee or any owner, director, officer, member, partner, shareholder, trustee, employee or agent of such licensee has done any of the following:  . . . (3) violated any provision of sections 36a-580 to 36a-589, inclusive, or any regulation promulgated under said sections; or (4) demonstrated incompetency or untrustworthiness to act as a licensed check cashing service.

Section 36a-588-3 of the Regulations provides that:

(a)  Each licensee shall maintain the following or similar books, records and accounts, which shall be kept in ink or typewritten, preserved for at least three years after the date of final entry, and kept readily available for inspection by representatives of the commissioner:
(1) (A)  A “Daily Record of Checks Cashed,” in which shall be clearly recorded all cash transactions occurring each day.  This record shall include the following information:
(i)  Date on which the check, draft, or money order is cashed;
(ii)  Date of the check, draft, or money order;
(iii)  Number of the check, draft, or money order;
(iv)  Name and location, or American Bankers Association number, or clearinghouse number, of the banking institution on which the check, draft, or money order is drawn;
(v)  Name of the drawer of such check, draft, or money order which is cashed;
(vi)  Name and home or business address of the individual or entity for which such check, draft, or money order is cashed;
(vii)  Face amount of the check, draft, or money order;
(viii)  The fee collected by the licensee for cashing each such check, draft, or money order;
(B)  A licensee may substitute a viewable photographic record of checks, drafts, or money orders cashed, which sets forth all the information pertaining to said checks, drafts, or money orders required by subdivision (1) (A) of this subsection in lieu of a record kept in ink or typewritten.
(2)  A “Summary of Business” in which the number of checks, drafts, or money orders cashed, their total face amount, and the aggregate fees received, shall be shown for each business day and totaled for each calendar month.
(3)  A “Daily and Summary Record of Returned Items” in sufficient detail to identify the date on which the check, draft, or money order was returned, the reason for return, the disposition, and the information required to be recorded pursuant to subsection (1) of this section.
(4)  A “Daily Cash Reconcilement,” in sufficient detail to identify:
(A)  Cash on hand at the opening of business;
(B)  Checks, drafts, or money orders cashed and on hand at opening of business;
(C)  Cash received during the day showing the source of such funds;
(D)  Total amount of fees received during the day;
(E)  The total deposits made during the day showing to whom made;
(F)  Other cash paid out during the day, showing the nature of the disbursement;
(G)  The total of cash on hand, the total of undeposited checks, drafts, or money orders cashed during the day and the total of all checks, drafts, or money orders cashed and on hand;
(5)  A “General Ledger” containing all assets, liability, capital, income, and expense accounts.
(6)  A “Journal” in sufficient detail to identify all opening, closing and adjusting entries.
(b)  Any licensee who operates two or more locations may maintain a combined or consolidated set of books, provided that such books reflect separate figures on activity, income and expense for each location.

Section 36a-588-4 of the Regulations provides that:

Each licensee shall annually file with the commissioner, an unaudited unconsolidated financial statement, including the licensee’s balance sheet and receipts and disbursements for the preceding year, prepared by an independent certified public accountant.  The statement shall be in a form of compilation or review and contain information satisfactory to the commissioner.  The commissioner may also require additional reports as deemed necessary including an audited unconsolidated financial statement.

1.
Respondent’s failure to keep its books, records and accounts readily available for inspection by a representative of the Commissioner, as more fully described in paragraphs 5 and 7 through 9, inclusive, of the Matters Asserted, constitutes a violation of Section 36a-588-3 of the Regulations, which constitutes sufficient grounds for the Commissioner to refuse to renew Respondent’s check cashing service license pursuant to Section 36a-587(a)(3) of the Connecticut General Statutes and subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes.
2.
Respondent’s failure to submit its 2011 financial statement to the Commissioner, as more fully described in paragraphs 6, 8 and 9 of the Matters Asserted, constitutes a violation of Section 36a-588-4 of the Regulations, which constitutes sufficient grounds for the Commissioner to refuse to renew Respondent’s check cashing service license pursuant to Section 36a-587(a)(3) of the Connecticut General Statutes and subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes.
3.
As a result of the conduct of Abella, the sole owner of Respondent, as more fully described in paragraphs 3 and 5 through 9, inclusive, of the Matters Asserted, the Commissioner is unable to find that such owner is in all respects properly qualified and of good character.  Such failure constitutes grounds for the Commissioner to deny an application for a check cashing service license pursuant to Section 36a-581(e)(4) of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes, which constitutes sufficient grounds for the Commissioner to refuse to renew Respondent’s check cashing service license pursuant to Section 36a-587(a) and subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes.
4.
The conduct of Abella, the sole owner of Respondent, as more fully described in paragraphs 3 and 5 through 9, inclusive, of the Matters Asserted, demonstrates incompetency or untrustworthiness to act as a licensed check cashing service by the sole owner, which conduct constitutes sufficient grounds for the Commissioner to refuse to renew Respondent’s check cashing service license pursuant to Section 36a-587(a)(4) of the Connecticut General Statutes and subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes.


IV.  NOTICE OF INTENT TO REFUSE TO RENEW CHECK
CASHING SERVICE LICENSE AND NOTICE OF RIGHT TO HEARING

WHEREAS, the Commissioner has reason to believe that Respondent has engaged in acts or conduct which constitutes sufficient grounds for the Commissioner to refuse to renew Respondent’s check cashing service license pursuant to Section 36a-587(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes and subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes.
 
NOW THEREFORE, notice is hereby given to Respondent that the Commissioner intends to REFUSE TO RENEW its check cashing service license, 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 Notice of Intent to Refuse to Renew Check Cashing Service License and Notice of Right to Hearing as set forth in subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes.  This Notice of Intent to Refuse to Renew Check Cashing Service License 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 hearing, designates a presiding 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, August 15, 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 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 refusing to renew Respondent’s check cashing service license in Connecticut for the October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2013 renewal period.


Dated at Hartford, Connecticut
this 18th of June 2012.                                ________/s/_________
                                                               Howard F. Pitkin
                                                               Banking Commissioner


CERTIFICATION

I hereby certify that on this 19th day of June 2012, the foregoing Notice of Intent to Refuse to Renew Check Cashing Service License and Notice of Right to Hearing was sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to Frog Bridge Check Cashing Plus, LLC, Attention:  Janice Abella, Owner, at 31 Church Street, Willimantic, Connecticut 06226, certified mail no. 70112000000247358710, and at 110 Willow Street, Meriden, Connecticut 06450, certified mail no. 70110470000225730270; and Janice C. Hankey, Agent for Frog Bridge Check Cashing Plus, LLC, 600 Main Street, Willimantic, Connecticut 06226, certified mail no. 70112000000247358727.

                                                              ________/s/_________
                                                              Doniel Kitt
                                                              Prosecuting Attorney
 


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