DOB: Cohen, Stuart L. - CO

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IN THE MATTER OF:

COHEN, STUART L.
d/b/a CONN & CONN CO.
a/k/a CONN & CONN MORTGAGE
COMPANY
NMLS # 113485

       ("Conn & Conn")

   
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CONSENT ORDER        

WHEREAS, the Banking Commissioner (“Commissioner”) is charged with the administration of Part I of Chapter 668, Sections 36a-485 to 36a-534c, inclusive, of the Connecticut General Statutes, “Mortgage Lenders, Correspondent Lenders, Brokers and Loan Originators”;

WHEREAS, Conn & Conn held a mortgage lender license in Connecticut from December 2001 through January 2011, and currently has an office at 641 Farmington Avenue, Suite 203, Hartford, Connecticut;

WHEREAS, the Commissioner, through the Consumer Credit Division of the Department of Banking (“Department”), conducted an investigation pursuant to Section 36a-17(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes into the activities of Conn & Conn to determine if it had violated, was violating or was about to violate the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes within the jurisdiction of the Commissioner;

WHEREAS, as a result of such investigation, on January 23, 2014, the Commissioner, acting pursuant to Sections 36a-52(b), 36a-494(b) and 36a-52(a) and subsections (a) and (c) of Section 36a-50 of the Connecticut General Statutes, issued a Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, Order to Make Restitution, Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty and Notice of Right to Hearing (collectively, “Order and Notice”) against Conn & Conn, which Order and Notice is incorporated herein by reference;
 
WHEREAS, on January 24, 2014, the Order and Notice was mailed to Conn & Conn by certified mail, return receipt requested (Certified Mail No. 70121010000172645472);
 
WHEREAS, on January 27, 2014, Conn & Conn received the Order and Notice;

WHEREAS, on February 6, 2014, the Department received a request for a hearing on the Order and Notice from Conn & Conn, which hearing is currently scheduled for May 13, 2014;
 
WHEREAS, the Order and Notice alleged that Conn & Conn engaged in the business of making residential mortgage loans without a license by advertising, soliciting or offering to make residential mortgage loans via its website and letterhead, in violation of Section 36a-486(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, which forms a basis to issue an order to cease and desist pursuant to Sections 36a-494(b) and 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes and impose a civil penalty pursuant to Sections 36a-494(b) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes;
 
WHEREAS, the Order and Notice alleged that Conn & Conn acted as a mortgage broker without a license by advertising via its website that it would negotiate, solicit, place or find residential mortgage loans, either directly or indirectly, in violation of Section 36a-486(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, which forms a basis to issue an order to cease and desist pursuant to Sections 36a-494(b) and 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes and impose a civil penalty pursuant to Sections 36a-494(b) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes;
 
WHEREAS, the Order and Notice alleged that Conn & Conn charged, imposed or caused to be paid, directly or indirectly, prepaid finance charges in excess of five per cent of the principal amount of a first mortgage loan, in violation of Section 36a-498a of the Connecticut General Statutes in effect prior to July 1, 2008, which forms a basis to issue an order to cease and desist pursuant to Sections 36a-494(b) and 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, issue an order to make restitution pursuant to Sections 36a-494(b) and 36a-50(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes and impose a civil penalty pursuant to Sections 36a-494(b) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes;
 
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 Conn & Conn now desire to resolve the matters alleged in the Order and Notice and set forth herein;
 
WHEREAS, Conn & Conn voluntarily agrees to consent to the entry of sanctions described below without admitting or denying any allegation contained in the Order and Notice and set forth herein and solely for the purpose of obviating the need for further administrative proceedings concerning the allegations contained in the Order and Notice and set forth herein;
 
WHEREAS, Conn & Conn herein represents that, since January 1, 2011, no individuals have made an inquiry to Conn & Conn concerning a “residential mortgage loan”, as such term is defined in Section 36a-485(24) of the Connecticut General Statutes;
 
WHEREAS, Conn & Conn herein represents to the Commissioner that, aside from referencing residential mortgage loan products on its website and letterhead, it has neither acted as a mortgage broker nor made any residential mortgage loans in this state since the lapse of its mortgage lender license on January 1, 2011;
 
WHEREAS, Conn & Conn herein represents that it has removed all references to residential mortgage loan products on its website and letterhead, and in any other advertising materials;
 
WHEREAS, Conn & Conn herein represents that it has refunded the excess prepaid finance charges paid by the Connecticut resident identified in Exhibit A attached hereto, in connection with the first mortgage loan received by such resident from Conn & Conn on March 4, 2008;

WHEREAS, Conn & Conn agrees that the Order and Notice may be used in construing the terms of this Consent Order, and agrees to the language of this Consent Order;
 
AND WHEREAS, Conn & Conn, 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 Order and 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, Conn & Conn, through its execution of this Consent Order, consents to the Commissioner’s entry of a Consent Order imposing the following sanctions:

1.
No later than the date Conn & Conn executes this Consent Order, Conn & Conn shall remit to the Department of Banking the sum of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000) as a civil penalty by cashier’s check, certified check or money order made payable to “Treasurer, State of Connecticut”;
2.Conn & Conn shall cease and desist from engaging in the business of making residential mortgage loans in this state without a license, in violation of Section 36a-486(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, including, but not limited to, advertising, soliciting or offering to make residential mortgage loans;
3.Conn & Conn shall cease and desist from acting as a mortgage broker in this state without a license, in violation of Section 36a-486(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, including, but not limited to, advertising via its website that it negotiates, solicits, places or finds residential mortgage loans, either directly or indirectly;
4.Conn & Conn shall cease and desist from charging, imposing or causing to be paid, directly or indirectly, prepaid finance charges in excess of five per cent of the principal amount of a first mortgage loan, in violation of Section 36a-498a of the Connecticut General Statutes in effect prior to July 1, 2008; and
5.Conn & Conn shall repay the prepaid finance charges in excess of five per cent or $2,000, as applicable, paid by the Connecticut resident identified in Exhibit A attached hereto, or paid by any other Connecticut resident, in connection with a first mortgage loan made by Conn & Conn.


CONSENT ORDER

NOW THEREFORE, the Commissioner enters the following:

1.The Sanctions set forth above be and are hereby entered;
2.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 Conn & Conn based upon any of the allegations contained in the Order and Notice and set forth herein; provided that issuance of this Consent Order is without prejudice to the right of the Commissioner to take enforcement action against Conn & Conn based upon a violation of this Consent Order if the Commissioner determines that compliance with the terms herein is not being observed or if any representation made by Conn & Conn and reflected herein is subsequently discovered to be untrue; and
3.This Consent Order shall become final when issued.


Issued at Hartford, Connecticut
this 9th day of May 2014.                 _______/s/_________
                                                     Howard F. Pitkin
                                                     Banking Commissioner



I, Stuart L. Cohen, state on behalf of Cohen, Stuart L. d/b/a Conn & Conn Co. a/k/a Conn & Conn Mortgage Company, that I have read the foregoing Consent Order; that I know and fully understand its contents; that I agree freely and without threat or coercion of any kind to comply with the provisions of this Consent Order; and that I voluntarily agree to enter into this Consent Order, expressly waiving the procedural rights set forth herein as to the matters described herein.

                                            By:  ________/s/___________
                                                  Stuart L. Cohen
                                                  Cohen, Stuart L. d/b/a Conn & Conn Co.
                                                  a/k/a Conn & Conn Mortgage Company

State of:  Connecticut

County of:  Hartford

On this the 29th day of April 2014, before me, Robert H. Weinstein, the undersigned officer, personally appeared Stuart L. Cohen, known to me (or satisfactorily proven) to be the person whose name is subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged that he executed the same for the purposes therein contained.

In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand.


                                                       _________/s/_________
                                                       Robert H. Weinstein  
                                                       Commissioner of the Superior Court

  



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