DOB: Law Offices of Drew Alia, P.C. - CD-Repay-CP

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IN THE MATTER OF:

LAW OFFICES OF DREW ALIA, P.C.
A PROFESSIONAL LAW
CORPORATION
d/b/a THE ALIA LAW GROUP
("Alia Law Group")

GMK SOLUTIONS, LLC
("GMK Solutions")

    (collectively, "Respondents")

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ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST

ORDER OF REPAYMENT OF FEES

AND

ORDER IMPOSING CIVIL PENALTY


I.  PRELIMINARY STATEMENT

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, the Commissioner, through the Consumer Credit Division of the Department of Banking, conducted an investigation of the activities of Respondents, pursuant to the authority granted by Section 36a-17(a) of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes, 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, on September 12, 2012, the Commissioner, acting pursuant to Section 36a-52(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes, Section 36a-671a(b) 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 September 12, 2012, the Notice was sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to Alia Law Group (Certified Mail Nos. 70110470000225730300 and 70112000000247358536); and to GMK Solutions (Certified Mail Nos. 70110470000225730317 and 70112000000247358543);
 
WHEREAS, the Notice provided Respondents with the opportunity for a hearing, and stated that if a hearing was not requested within 14 days of each Respondent’s receipt, the Commissioner would issue an order that such Respondent cease and desist from violating Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes in effect prior to October 1, 2011, may issue an order of repayment of fees, and may order a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation be imposed upon such Respondent;
 
WHEREAS, on September 17, 2012, Alia Law Group received the Notice sent by Certified Mail No. 70110470000225730300; and on October 9, 2012, the Notice sent to Alia Law Group by Certified Mail No. 70112000000247358536 was returned to the Department marked “Return to Sender – Unclaimed – Unable to Forward”, and no request for a hearing has been received by the Commissioner;
 
WHEREAS, on September 17, 2012, GMK Solutions received the Notice sent by Certified Mail No. 70112000000247358543; and on September 21, 2012, the Notice sent to GMK Solutions by Certified Mail No. 70110470000225730317 was returned to the Department marked “Return to Sender – Unclaimed – Unable to Forward”, and no request for a hearing has been received by the Commissioner;
 
WHEREAS, the Commissioner alleged in the Notice, with respect to the activity described therein, that Alia Law Group’s engaging in debt negotiation in this state without obtaining the required license constitutes a violation of Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes in effect prior to October 1, 2011.  Such violation forms the basis to issue an order to cease and desist pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and impose a civil penalty upon Alia Law Group pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes;
 
WHEREAS, the Commissioner also alleged in the Notice, with respect to the activity described therein, that GMK Solutions’ engaging in debt negotiation in this state without obtaining the required license constitutes a violation of Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes in effect prior to October 1, 2011.  Such violation forms the basis to issue an order to cease and desist pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and impose a civil penalty upon GMK Solutions pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes;
 
WHEREAS, also in the Notice, the Commissioner found that the fees charged by Respondents for debt negotiation services were excessive and ordered, pursuant to Section 36a-52(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes and Section 36a-671a(c) of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes, that not later than 10 days from each Respondent’s receipt of the Notice, Respondents provide repayment of fees to Connecticut residents identified in Exhibit A of the Notice, and, among other things, provide evidence of such repayment and a list of all Connecticut residents with whom Respondents entered into an agreement for debt negotiation services on or after October 1, 2009, to the Director of the Consumer Credit Division;
 
WHEREAS, no evidence of such repayment was provided to the Director of the Consumer Credit Division;
 
WHEREAS, on December 13, 2013, Alia Law Group provided a list of additional Connecticut residents with whom Respondents had entered into agreements for debt negotiation services on or after October 1, 2009, and the amount of fees paid by such residents identified in Exhibit B attached hereto.
 
WHEREAS, Section 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that “[i]f 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”;
 
WHEREAS, Section 36a-50(a)(2) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that “[i]f 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”;
 
WHEREAS, Section 36a-50(a)(3) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that “[e]ach action undertaken by the commissioner under this subsection shall be in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54”;
 
AND WHEREAS, Section 36a-1-31(a) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies provides, in pertinent part, that “[w]hen a party fails to request a hearing within the time specified in the notice, the allegations against the party may be deemed admitted.  Without further proceedings or notice to the party, the commissioner shall issue a final decision in accordance with section 4-180 of the Connecticut General Statutes and section 36a-1-52 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies”.


II.  FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

1.
The Commissioner finds that the matters asserted, as set forth in paragraphs 1 through 8, inclusive, of Section II of the Notice, shall constitute findings of fact within the meaning of Section 4-180(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and that the conclusions, as set forth in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Section III of the Notice, shall constitute conclusions of law within the meaning of Section 4-180(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes and Section 36a-1-52 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.
2.
The Commissioner finds that Respondents have engaged in acts or conduct which, pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, forms the basis to issue an order to cease and desist against each Respondent, and, pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, forms the basis to impose a civil penalty upon each Respondent.
3. The Commissioner finds that the payment of fees by the Connecticut residents identified in Exhibit A of the Notice to be excessive, upon consideration of the Schedule of Maximum Fees issued by the Commissioner, the debt negotiation services contract was not successfully completed and the Connecticut residents received no benefit from such contract.  The Commissioner also finds that the payment of fees by the Connecticut residents identified in Exhibit B attached hereto, to be excessive.
4.
The Commissioner finds that the Notice was given in compliance with Sections 36a-52(a), 36a-50(a) and 4-177 of the Connecticut General Statutes.


III.  ORDER

Having read the record, I HEREBY ORDER, pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes and Sections 36a-52(a) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes and Section 36a-671a(c) of the 2012 Supplement to the General Statutes, that:

1.
Law Offices of Drew Alia, P.C., A Professional Law Corporation d/b/a The Alia Law Group CEASE AND DESIST from violating Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes in effect prior to October 1, 2011;
2.
GMK Solutions, LLC CEASE AND DESIST from violating Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes in effect prior to October 1, 2011;
3. A CIVIL PENALTY of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) be imposed upon Law Offices of Drew Alia, P.C., A Professional Law Corporation d/b/a The Alia Law Group 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;
4. A CIVIL PENALTY of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) be imposed upon GMK 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; and
5. Law Offices of Drew Alia, P.C., A Professional Law Corporation d/b/a The Alia Law Group and GMK Solutions, LLC REPAY ALL FEES paid to Law Offices of Drew Alia, P.C., A Professional Law Corporation d/b/a The Alia Law Group and GMK Solutions, LLC by the Connecticut residents identified in Exhibits A and B attached hereto by cashier’s check, certified check or money order, no later than ten (10) days from the date this Order is mailed, and shall provide 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;
6. This Order shall become effective when mailed.

Dated at Hartford, Connecticut
this 11th day of June 2013.                        ________/s/_________
                                                            Howard F. Pitkin
                                                            Banking Commissioner



This Order was sent by certified mail,
return receipt requested, to each
Respondent on June 12, 2013.


Law Offices of Drew Alia, P.C.                  Certified Mail No. 70123050000216929683
A Professional Law Corporation
d/b/a The Alia Law Group
Attention:  Drew Alia, Esq.
1518 Walnut Street, Suite 1506
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102

Law Offices of Drew Alia, P.C.                  Certified Mail No. 70123050000216929690
A Professional Law Corporation
d/b/a The Alia Law Group
Attention:  Drew Alia, Esq.
1218 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102

GMK Solutions, LLC                                 Certified Mail No. 70123050000216929706
1819 JFK Boulevard, Suite 301
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103

GMK Solutions, LLC                                 Certified Mail No. 70123050000216929713
1518 Walnut Street, Suite 1506
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102


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