DOB: Amerassist A/R Solutions, Inc. - Temp CD-Sum Sus-Rest-NOI Rev-CD-CP

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


IN THE MATTER OF:

AMERASSIST A/R SOLUTIONS, INC.

     ("Respondent")



 

 

 



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*

TEMPORARY ORDER TO
CEASE AND DESIST

ORDER OF SUMMARY SUSPENSION

ORDER TO MAKE RESTITUTION

NOTICE OF INTENT TO REVOKE
CONSUMER COLLECTION AGENCY
LICENSE

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(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Commissioner, through the Consumer Credit Division (“Division”) of the Department of Banking, has conducted an examination 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 Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

The commissioner, in the commissioner’s discretion, may . . . (1) 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 Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

(a)  The commissioner may . . . revoke . . . 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 . . . revocation . . . .

(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 . . . revoke . . . 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 . . . revocation . . . .  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 . . . revoke . . . the license.  No such license shall be . . . revoked except in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.

Section 36a-52 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, or any regulation . . . adopted . . . thereunder, 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, [or] regulations . . . 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 of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

(a)(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, or any regulation . . . adopted . . . thereunder, 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, [or] regulations . . . 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 not later than fourteen days after 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, [or] regulation, . . . 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. . . .

(c)  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, or any regulation . . . adopted . . . under such provisions, the commissioner may, in addition to any other remedy authorized by law, order such person to (1) make restitution of any sums shown to have been obtained in violation of any such provision, [or] regulation . . . plus interest at the legal rate set forth in section 37-1 . . . .  After the commissioner issues such an order, the person named in the order may, not later than fourteen days after the receipt of such order, file a written request for a hearing.  The order 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 hearing shall be held in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.

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

If the agency finds that public health, safety or welfare imperatively requires emergency action, and incorporates a finding to that effect in its order, summary suspension of a license may be ordered pending proceedings for revocation or other action.  These proceedings shall be promptly instituted and determined.


II.  MATTERS ASSERTED

1. Respondent is a Nevada corporation with its main office at 445 Hutchinson Avenue, Suite 500, Columbus, Ohio.  Respondent currently holds a license to act as a consumer collection agency in this state (No. 16826).
2. By letter dated November 14, 2012, the Division commenced an examination of Respondent.  Pursuant to such examination, the Division requested various records from Respondent, including, among other things, completion of a “Consumer Collection Agency Uniform Manager’s Questionnaire” (“Questionnaire”), records of Connecticut debtors’ accounts, and bank statements of client trust accounts.
3. Respondent is wholly-owned by AmerAssist Holding Company, LTD, and wholly owns the subsidiary of Master Agent Sub, LLC.  At all relevant times hereto, Kenneth E. Monnett was the President of Respondent.
4. Respondent fails to demonstrate financial responsibility in the conduct of its operations.  In particular, Respondent’s bank statements indicate that several outgoing transfers were made from Respondent’s trust account to its operating account during 2012, such that the cash balance maintained in its trust account was insufficient to cover outstanding checks.  Respondent stated that the outstanding checks are only funded upon presentment to the bank by the payee.  As a result, for the year ending December 31, 2012, according to generally accepted accounting principles, Respondent’s trust account balance was negative.  In addition, on four dates during January 2013, Respondent’s bank statement reflects that Respondent’s trust account was overdrawn.
5. From at least July to September 2012, Respondent withheld monies allegedly for Connecticut sales tax purposes from amounts that had been collected on behalf of Connecticut clients.  Since consumer collection services are exempt from Connecticut sales tax requirements, such monies were never owed to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (“DRS”).  Moreover, as of March 22, 2013, Respondent has neither registered with DRS nor remitted such monies to DRS.
6. On Respondent’s Application for Renewal of Consumer Collection Agency License – Main Office, filed with the Division on August 17, 2011 (“Application”), in response to Question 6(g) which asked, “[h]as the applicant . . . ever been the subject of proceedings in . . . consumer-initiated litigation or arbitration filed in connection with a financial services-related business . . . ?”, Respondent answered “No”.
7. Public records indicate that Respondent has been the subject of numerous lawsuits since August 17, 2011, alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, including Furr, et.al. v. Amerassist A/R Solutions, Inc., 1:12-cv-00605, filed June 18, 2012, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, Salisbury Division; Brink v. AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., 1:12-cv-00825, filed May 21, 2012, in the United States District Court, Eastern District of California, Fresno Division; and Hall v. AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., 5:11-cv-00450, filed November 13, 2011, in the United States District Court, Middle District of Georgia, Macon Division.
8. Respondent failed to notify the Division of the change in information provided in its Application and failed to inform the Division of such litigation during the examination.  In response to Question 19(a) of the Questionnaire, which asked, “[h]as the institution . . . been a defendant or been indicted in any criminal or civil litigation . . . ?”, Respondent answered “No”.


III.  STATUTORY BASIS FOR ORDER TO MAKE RESTITUTION, REVOCATION OF
CONSUMER COLLECTION AGENCY LICENSE, ORDER TO CEASE
AND DESIST AND IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY

Section 36a-53a of the Connecticut General Statutes provides:

No person shall make or cause to be made orally or in any document filed with the commissioner or in any proceeding, investigation or examination under this title, any statement which is, at the time and in the light of the circumstances under which it is made, false or misleading in any material respect. 

Section 36a-801(b)(1) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

Any person desiring to act within this state as a consumer collection agency shall make a written application to the commissioner for such license in such form as the commissioner prescribes. . . .  Each applicant shall furnish satisfactory evidence to the commissioner that the applicant is a person of good moral character and is financially responsible.  If the commissioner is satisfied that such applicant is in all respects properly qualified and trustworthy and that the granting of such license is not against the public interest, the commissioner may issue to such applicant a license, in such form as the commissioner may adopt, to act within this state as a consumer collection agency. . . .  To further the enforcement of this section and to determine the eligibility of any person holding a license, the commissioner may, as often as the commissioner deems necessary, examine the licensee’s books and records, and may, at any time, require the licensee to submit such a financial statement for the examination of the commissioner, so that the commissioner may determine whether the licensee is financially responsible to carry on a consumer collection agency business within the intents and purposes of sections 36a-800 to 36a-810, inclusive. . . .  The . . . licensee shall notify the commissioner, in writing, of any change in the information provided in its initial application for a license or most recent renewal application for such license, as applicable, not later than ten business days after the occurrence of the event that results in such information becoming inaccurate. . .

Section 36a-804 of the Connecticut General Statute provides, in pertinent part, that:

(a)  The commissioner may . . . revoke . . . any license 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-800 to 36a-810, inclusive, or if the commissioner finds that the licensee or any proprietor, director, officer, member, partner, shareholder, trustee, employee or agent of such licensee has done any of the following:  (1) Made any material misstatement in the application; (2) committed any fraud or misrepresentation or misappropriated funds; or (3) violated any of the provisions of sections 36a-800 to 36a-810, inclusive, or of any regulations adopted pursuant thereto, or any other law or regulation applicable to the conduct of its business.

(b)  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, or any regulation adopted pursuant thereto, or the licensee or any proprietor, director, officer, member, partner, shareholder, trustee, employee or agent of such licensee has committed any fraud, made any misrepresentation or misappropriated funds, the commissioner may take action against such person or licensee in accordance with sections 36a-50 and 36a-52.

Section 36a-805(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

No consumer collection agency shall:  . . . (9) refuse or fail to account for and remit to its clients all money collected which is not in dispute within sixty days from the last day of the month in which said money is collected; . . . [or] (12) commingle money collected for a creditor, claimant or forwarder with its own funds or use any part of a creditor’s, claimant’s or forwarder’s money in the conduct of its business . . . .

Section 36a-809-7(b) of the Regulations provides, in pertinent part, that:

Each consumer collection agency shall deposit funds received from debtors in a separate account which shall not be commingled with funds of the consumer collection agency or used in the conduct of the consumer collection agency’s business.  Such account shall not be used for any purpose other than (1) the deposit of funds received from debtors, (2) the payment of such funds to creditors, and (3) the payment of earned fees to the consumer collection agency.

1. Respondent’s statement to the Division indicating that Respondent has never been a defendant in civil litigation, as more fully described in paragraphs 7 and 8 of the Matters Asserted, constitutes making in a document filed with the Commissioner or in an investigation or examination, a statement which is, at the time and in light of the circumstances under which it is made, false or misleading in a material respect, in violation of Section 36a-53a of the Connecticut General Statutes.  Such conduct constitutes sufficient grounds for the Commissioner to revoke Respondent’s license to act as a consumer collection agency in this state pursuant to Section 36a-804(a) and subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the Connecticut General Statutes, and 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 to impose a 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.
2. Respondent’s failure to notify the Commissioner of the change in information provided in its Application, as more fully described in paragraphs 6 through 8, inclusive, of the Matters Asserted, constitutes a violation of Section 36a-801(b)(1) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  Such conduct constitutes sufficient grounds for the Commissioner to revoke Respondent’s license to act as a consumer collection agency in this state pursuant to Section 36a-804(a) and subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the Connecticut General Statutes, and 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 to impose a 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.
3. Respondent’s commingling of monies in its Connecticut debtor trust account and operating accounts, as more fully described in paragraph 4 of the Matters Asserted, constitutes violations of Section 36a-805(a)(12) of the Connecticut General Statutes and Section 36a-809-7(b) of the Regulations.  Such conduct constitutes sufficient grounds for the Commissioner to revoke Respondent’s license to act as a consumer collection agency in this state pursuant to Section 36a-804(a) and subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the Connecticut General Statutes, and 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 to impose a 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.
4. Respondent’s withholding of monies for Connecticut sales tax purposes, as more fully described in paragraph 5 of the Matters Asserted, constitutes a violation of Section 36a-805(a)(9) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  Such conduct constitutes sufficient grounds for the Commissioner to revoke Respondent’s license to act as a consumer collection agency in this state pursuant to Section 36a-804(a) and subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the Connecticut General Statutes, 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, issue an order to make restitution pursuant to Sections 36a-804(b) and 36a-50(c) 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.  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.
5. Respondent’s commingling of monies, inaccurate accounting of its trust account balance and erroneously withholding monies for Connecticut sales tax purposes, as more fully described in paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Matters Asserted, fails to demonstrate that the licensee is financially responsible, as required pursuant to Section 36a-801(b)(1) of the Connecticut General Statutes, which constitutes sufficient grounds for the Commissioner to revoke Respondent’s consumer collection agency license pursuant to Section 36a-804(a) and subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the Connecticut General Statutes.


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

The Commissioner finds that public safety and welfare imperatively require emergency action to summarily suspend Respondent’s license to act as a consumer collection agency in this state under Section 4-182(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes and finds that public welfare requires immediate action to issue a temporary order requiring Respondent to cease and desist from violating the laws and regulations cited herein, pursuant to Section 36a-52(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes, in that Respondent has commingled Connecticut debtor monies with operational expenses, made a statement to the Commissioner which was false or misleading in a material respect, and failed to demonstrate the financial responsibility required of licensees, such that the continued operation of Respondent as a consumer collection agency in Connecticut may adversely affect Connecticut residents.


V.  TEMPORARY ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST, ORDER OF SUMMARY SUSPENSION,
ORDER TO MAKE RESTITUTION, NOTICE OF INTENT TO REVOKE CONSUMER
COLLECTION AGENCY LICENSE, 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 constitutes sufficient grounds for the Commissioner to revoke Respondent’s license to act as a consumer collection agency in this state pursuant to Section 36a-804(a) and subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the Connecticut General Statutes, and 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 issue an order to make restitution against Respondent pursuant to Sections 36a-804(b) and 36a-50(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes and to impose a civil penalty upon Respondent 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 Sections 36a-51(a), 4-182(c) and 36a-52(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes.

THE COMMISSIONER THEREFORE ORDERS, pursuant to the authority granted in Section 36a-52(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes, that AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., immediately CEASE AND DESIST from further violations of Sections 36a-53a, 36a-801(b)(1), 36a-805(a)(9) and 36a-805(a)(12) of the Connecticut General Statutes and Section 36a-809-7(b) of the Regulations.  This Temporary Order to Cease and Desist shall become effective upon receipt by AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., 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 to Cease and Desist.
 
THE COMMISSIONER FURTHER ORDERS, pursuant to the authority granted in Sections 36a-51(a) and 36a-52(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes, that:

1. Upon receipt of this Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., and any and all officers, directors, trustees, principal employees, shareholders and agents acting on behalf of AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., shall immediately cease and desist from acting as a consumer collection agency in this state, provided that AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., is permitted to perform the winding-down of its Connecticut consumer collection activities as provided herein;
2. No later than fourteen (14) days after receipt of this Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., shall perform a detailed accounting of all Connecticut debtor accounts, including but not limited to, names and addresses of Connecticut debtors and the amount of funds and fees collected from each debtor, and provide copies of such detailed accounting to:  (a) all clients that currently have Connecticut debtor accounts placed with AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc. (“CT Clients”), and (b) Carmine Costa, Director, Consumer Credit Division, Department of Banking, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut 06103-1800, or carmine.costa@ct.gov;
3. Upon receipt of this Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., shall notify all CT Clients of the existence of this Order and that AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc.’s consumer collection agency license in Connecticut has been summarily suspended, pending proceedings for revocation.  AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., shall provide evidence of such notification to Carmine Costa, Director, Consumer Credit Division, no later than fourteen (14) days after receipt of this Temporary Order to Cease and Desist;
4. AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., shall immediately secure all records, files and documents relating to its consumer collection activity in Connecticut (collectively, “Records”).  The Records shall be available to the Commissioner in their entirety upon request;
5. AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., shall immediately remit all monies held in trust for CT Clients and any future monies received relating to Connecticut debtor accounts to CT Clients.  No later than fourteen (14) days after the effective date of this Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., shall submit evidence of compliance with this paragraph to Carmine Costa, Director, Consumer Credit Division, including but not limited to, receipts confirming the transmittal of funds, check numbers for payments issued and an accounting of amounts paid to each CT Client;
6. Upon the effective date of this Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., shall not pay or declare any dividend, salary or bonus, nor otherwise authorize any other material distribution of AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc.’s assets to any officer, director or owner of such AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., without the prior written approval of the Commissioner.  AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., shall implement or revise its practices and procedures, as necessary, to ensure that each of AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc.’s financial books and records are accurately maintained, in a manner illustrating compliance with the provisions of this paragraph, and available for review by the Division’s examiners upon request; and
7. AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., shall immediately place any unearned fees relating to consumer collection activity on Connecticut debtor accounts in a separate escrow account at a federally-insured bank, Connecticut credit union, federal credit union or out of state bank that maintains in this state a branch as defined in Section 36a-410 of the Connecticut General Statutes, and notify Carmine Costa, Director, Consumer Credit Division, of the account number and location of such account.

THE COMMISSIONER FURTHER ORDERS, pursuant to Sections 36a-804(b) and 36a-50(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes, that AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., MAKE RESTITUTION of any sums obtained as a result of violating Section 36a-805(a)(9) of the Connecticut General Statutes, plus interest at the legal rate set forth in Section 37-1 of the Connecticut General Statutes.  Specifically, the Commissioner ORDERS that:  Not later than thirty (30) days from the date this Order to Make Restitution becomes permanent, AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., shall: 

1. Repay all amounts withheld from CT Clients allegedly for Connecticut sales tax purposes, plus interest.  Payments shall be made by cashier’s check, certified check or money order; and
2. 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 repayments.

THE COMMISSIONER FURTHER ORDERS, pursuant to the authority granted in of Sections 36a-804(a), 36a-51(a) and 4-182(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes, that the license of AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., to act as a consumer collection agency in this state be and is hereby SUMMARILY SUSPENDED pending proceedings for revocation.
 
FURTHER, notice is hereby given to Respondent that the Commissioner intends to REVOKE Respondent’s license to act as a consumer collection agency in this state, issue an order requiring Respondent to CEASE AND DESIST from violating Sections 36a-53a, 36a-801(b)(1), 36a-805(a)(9) and 36a-805(a)(12) of the Connecticut General Statutes and Section 36a-809-7(b) of the Regulations, and impose a CIVIL PENALTY upon Respondent as set forth herein, subject to Respondent’s 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 Respondent’s receipt of this Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, Order of Summary Suspension, Order to Make Restitution, Notice of Intent to Revoke Consumer Collection Agency License, 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), 36a-51(b) and subsections (a) and (c) of Section 36a-50 of the Connecticut General Statutes.  This Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, Order of Summary Suspension, Order to Make Restitution, Notice of Intent to Revoke Consumer Collection Agency License, 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 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 July 9, 2013, 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 Order to Make Restitution shall remain in effect and become permanent against Respondent, and the Commissioner will issue an order revoking Respondent’s license to act as a consumer collection agency in this state, issue an order that Respondent cease and desist from violating Sections 36a-53a, 36a-801(b)(1), 36a-805(a)(9) and 36a-805(a)(12) of the Connecticut General Statutes and Section 36a-809-7(b) of the Regulations, and may order a civil penalty not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation be imposed upon Respondent.


Dated at Hartford, Connecticut
this 1st day of May 2013.                 ________/s/_________
                                                    Howard F. Pitkin
                                                    Banking Commissioner


CERTIFICATION

I hereby certify that on this 1st day of May 2013, the foregoing Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, Order of Summary Suspension, Order to Make Restitution, Notice of Intent to Revoke Consumer Collection Agency License, 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 AmerAssist A/R Solutions, Inc., Attention:  Kenneth E. Monnett, President, 445 Hutchinson Avenue, Suite 500, Columbus, Ohio 43235, certified mail no. 70121010000173171871.

                                                    ________/s/_________
                                                    Stacey L. Serrano
                                                    Prosecuting Attorney
 


Administrative Orders and Settlements