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IN THE MATTER OF:
HOME CREDIT LAW CENTER
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WHEREAS, the Banking Commissioner (“Commissioner”) is charged with the administration of Sections 36a-671 to 36a-671e, inclusive, of the Connecticut General Statutes contained in Part II of Chapter 669 of the Connecticut General Statutes, “Debt Adjusters and Debt Negotiation”;
WHEREAS, Home Credit is a law firm with an office at 9854 National Boulevard, Suite 242, Los Angeles, California;
WHEREAS, the Commissioner, through the Consumer Credit Division of the Department of Banking, conducted an investigation pursuant to Section 36a-17(a) of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statues into the activities of Respondents to determine if they had violated, were violating or were about to violate the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes within the jurisdiction of the Commissioner;
WHEREAS, as a result of such investigation, on April 26, 2012, the Commissioner acting pursuant to Section 36a-52(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes, Section 36a-671a(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes, in effect prior to July 13, 2011, Section 36a-671a(c) of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes and Sections 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, which Notice is incorporated herein by reference;
WHEREAS, on April 27, 2012, the Notice was mailed to Home Credit by certified mail, return receipt requested (Certified Mail No. 70112000000247358000), and to United Processing’s agent for service of process (Certified Mail No. 70112000000247358208);
WHEREAS, on April 30, 2012, Home Credit received the Notice;
WHEREAS, on May 7, 2012, the Notice sent to United Processing was returned to the Department marked “Return to Sender, Attempted – Not Known, Unable to Forward”, and the Commissioner did not receive a request for a hearing;
WHEREAS, on May 11, 2012, the Department received an Appearance and Request for Hearing from Home Credit, which hearing is currently subject to an open-ended continuance;
WHEREAS, the Notice alleged that Home Credit engaged in debt negotiation in this state without obtaining the required license, in violation of Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes, in effect prior to October 1, 2011;
WHEREAS, the Notice also alleged that United Processing offered to engage in debt negotiation in this state without obtaining the required license, in violation of Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes, in effect prior to October 1, 2011;
WHEREAS, on June 4, 2012, the Commissioner, acting pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes, in effect prior to July 13, 2011, and Sections 36a-52(a) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, issued an Order to Cease and Desist and Order Imposing Civil Penalty against United Processing;
WHEREAS, Section 4-177(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes and Section 36a-1-55(a) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies provide that a contested case may be resolved by consent order, unless precluded by law;
WHEREAS, the Commissioner and Home Credit now desire to resolve the matters alleged in the Notice and set forth herein;
WHEREAS, Home Credit voluntarily agrees to consent to the entry of the sanctions described below without admitting any allegation contained in the Notice and set forth herein and solely for the purpose of obviating the need for further formal administrative proceedings concerning the allegations contained in the Notice and set forth herein;
WHEREAS, Home Credit herein represents that as of April 26, 2011, Home Credit ceased and desisted from engaging or offering to engage in debt negotiation in this state;
WHEREAS, by email dated August 10, 2012, Home Credit represents that there were a total of fourteen (14) Connecticut residents who had engaged the services of Home Credit and whom had paid fees to Home Credit. Home Credit also represents that of the fourteen (14) Connecticut residents, five (5) received loan modifications and nine (9) did not receive loan modifications. Home Credit further represents that Home Credit has negotiated refund amounts with eight (8) of the nine (9) Connecticut residents;
WHEREAS, Home Credit herein represents to the Commissioner that it is not currently aware of any additional Connecticut residents who had retained Home Credit for debt negotiation services from October 1, 2009 through the date that Home Credit executes this Consent Order;
WHEREAS, Home Credit specifically assures the Commissioner that the alleged violation contained in the Notice and set forth herein shall not occur in the future;
WHEREAS, on September 6, 2012, Home Credit submitted evidence demonstrating economic hardship such that the Commissioner believes that Home Credit is financially incapable of paying any civil penalty that otherwise would have been imposed on Home Credit or repaying all of the fees paid to Home Credit by the Connecticut residents referenced above;
WHEREAS, the Commissioner has determined that no civil penalty will be imposed on Home Credit based on such economic hardship;
WHEREAS, Home Credit agrees that the Notice may be used in construing the terms of this Consent Order and agrees to the language of this Consent Order;
AND WHEREAS, Home Credit, through its execution of this Consent Order, voluntarily agrees to waive its procedural rights, including a right to a hearing as it pertains to the allegations contained in the Notice and set forth herein, and voluntarily waives its right to seek judicial review or otherwise challenge or contest the validity of this Consent Order.
CONSENT TO ENTRY OF SANCTIONS
WHEREAS, Home Credit, through its execution of this Consent Order, consents to the Commissioner’s entry of a Consent Order imposing the following sanctions:
||Home Credit shall immediately cease and desist from engaging or offering to engage in unlicensed debt negotiation activity in Connecticut, in violation of Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes; and|
No later than twelve (12) months following the date this Consent Order is executed by Home Credit, Home Credit shall refund the higher of the amount that it has negotiated with the eight (8) Connecticut residents referred to in the Consent Order or twenty-five percent (25%) of the fees paid by such Connecticut residents, and shall refund all of the fees paid by the remaining Connecticut resident for whom Home Credit did not obtain loan modifications, and shall provide satisfactory evidence of such refunds to: Carmine Costa, Division Director, Consumer Credit Division, Department of Banking, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut 06103-1800, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOW THEREFORE, the Commissioner enters the following:
||The Sanctions set forth above be and are hereby entered;|
||Upon issuance of this Consent Order by the Commissioner, this matter will be resolved and the Commissioner will not take any future enforcement action against Home Credit based upon the allegations contained herein; provided that issuance of this Consent Order is without prejudice to the right of the Commissioner to take enforcement action against Home Credit based upon a violation of this Consent Order or the matters underlying its entry, if the Commissioner determines that compliance with the terms herein is not being observed or if any representation made by Home Credit and reflected herein is subsequently discovered to be untrue; and|
This Consent Order shall become final when issued.
Issued at Hartford, Connecticut
this 3rd day of October 2012. ________/s/_________
Howard F. Pitkin
I, Brian Linnekens, state on behalf of Home Credit Law Center, that I have read the foregoing Consent Order; that I know and fully understand its contents; that I am authorized to execute this Consent Order on behalf of Home Credit Law Center; Home Credit Law Center agrees freely and without threat or coercion of any kind to comply with the sanctions entered and terms and conditions ordered herein; and that Home Credit Law Center voluntarily agrees to enter into this Consent Order, expressly waiving the procedural rights set forth herein as to the matters described herein.
Name: Brian Linnekenso
Home Credit Law Center
State of: California
County of: Los Angeles
On this the 26 day of September 2012, before me, L. Smith, the undersigned officer, personally appeared Brian Linnekens, who acknowledged himself to be the President of Home Credit Law Center, and that he, as such President, being authorized so to do, executed the foregoing instrument for the purposes therein contained, by signing the name of the law firm by himself as President.
In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand.
Date Commission Expires: 10/25/2013
Administrative Orders and Settlements