DOB: Universal Debt Services Inc. - CO

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

IN THE MATTER OF:

UNIVERSAL DEBT SERVICES INC.   

       ("Universal Debt")

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

*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*

CONSENT ORDER        

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, Universal Debt is a New York corporation with a prior office at 100 Veterans Boulevard, Massapequa, New York, and a current office at One Cross Island Plaza, Suite 100, Rosedale, New York;

WHEREAS, the Commissioner, through the Consumer Credit Division (“Division”) of the Department of Banking, conducted an investigation pursuant to Section 36a-17(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes into the activities of Universal Debt 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, on May 2, 2013, the Commissioner, acting pursuant to Sections 36a-52(b), 36a-50(c), 36a-671a(b), 36a-52(a) and 36a-50(a) 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 Universal Debt, which Order and Notice is incorporated herein by reference;
 
WHEREAS, on May 7, 2013, the Order and Notice was sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to Universal Debt (Certified Mail No. 70112000000247315881), and to its attorney (Certified Mail No. 70112000000247315874);
 
WHEREAS, on May 9, 2013, Universal Debt and its attorney each received the Order and Notice and no request for a hearing has been received by the Commissioner;
 
WHEREAS, the Order and Notice provided Universal Debt with the opportunity for a hearing, and stated that if a hearing was not requested by Universal Debt within 14 days of Universal Debt’s receipt, the Order to Make Restitution shall remain in effect and become permanent, and the Commissioner would issue an order that Universal Debt cease and desist from violating Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes in effect prior to October 1, 2011, and Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and may order a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation be imposed upon Universal Debt;
 
WHEREAS, the Commissioner alleged in the Order and Notice, with respect to the activity described therein, that Universal Debt’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 Sections 36a-671a(b) and 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, issue an order to make restitution pursuant to Sections 36a-671a(b) and 36a-50(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and to impose a civil penalty pursuant to Sections 36a-671a(b) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes;
 
WHEREAS, the Commissioner also alleged in the Order and Notice, with respect to the activity described therein, that Universal Debt’s offering to engage in debt negotiation in this state without obtaining the required license constitutes a violation of Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  Such violation forms the basis to issue an order to cease and desist pursuant to Sections 36a-671a(b) and 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, issue an order to make restitution pursuant to Sections 36a-671a(b) and 36a-50(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and to impose a civil penalty pursuant to Sections 36a-671a(b) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes;
 
WHEREAS, as part of the Order to Make Restitution, the Commissioner ordered, pursuant to Section 36a-50(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes, that Universal Debt make restitution of any sums obtained as a result Universal Debt’s violation of Section 36a-671(b) 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 order that not later than thirty (30) days from the date the Order to Make Restitution becomes permanent, Universal Debt shall repay each identified Connecticut resident who entered into an agreement for debt negotiation services with Universal Debt on and after October 1, 2009, any fees paid by such resident plus interest, and provide evidence of such repayments to the Director of the Division
 
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 Universal Debt now desire to resolve the matters alleged in the Order and Notice and set forth herein;
 
WHEREAS, Universal Debt voluntarily agrees to consent to the entry of the sanction 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 formal administrative proceedings concerning the allegations contained in the Order and Notice and set forth herein;
 
WHEREAS, Universal Debt herein represents that on or about January 17, 2012, Universal Debt ceased and desisted from engaging and offering to engage in debt negotiation in this state or taking on any new Connecticut-based clients for debt negotiation services;
 
WHEREAS, Universal Debt has provided evidence to the Commissioner that it has repaid fees to the Connecticut residents identified in Exhibit A to the Order and Notice;
 
WHEREAS, Universal Debt has added a disclaimer to its website which states that “Universal Debt Services does not conduct business in Connecticut”;
 
WHEREAS, Universal Debt 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, Universal Debt, 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 SANCTION

WHEREAS, Universal Debt, through its execution of this Consent Order, consents to the Commissioner’s entry of a Consent Order imposing the following sanction:

No later than July 15, 2014, Universal Debt shall remit the sum of Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($2,500) to the Department as a civil penalty by cashier’s check, certified check or money order, made payable to “Treasurer, State of Connecticut”.

CONSENT ORDER

NOW THEREFORE, the Commissioner enters the following:

1.The Sanction set forth above be and is 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 Universal Debt based upon 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 Universal Debt 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 Universal Debt and reflected herein is subsequently discovered to be untrue;
3.Upon issuance of this Consent Order by the Commissioner, and so long as Universal Debt complies with the terms of this Consent Order, nothing in the issuance of this Consent Order shall adversely affect the ability of Universal Debt to apply for or obtain licenses or renewal licenses under Sections 36a-671 to 36a-671e, inclusive, of the Connecticut General Statutes, contained in Part II of Chapter 669 of the Connecticut General Statutes; and
4.This Consent Order shall become final when issued.


Issued at Hartford, Connecticut
this 21st day of May 2014.                _______/s/_________
                                                     Howard F. Pitkin
                                                     Banking Commissioner


I, Francois Oloa, state on behalf of Universal Debt Services Inc., 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 Universal Debt Services Inc.; that Universal Debt Services Inc., agrees freely and without threat or coercion of any kind to comply with the provisions of this Consent Order; and that Universal Debt Services Inc., voluntarily agrees to enter into this Consent Order, expressly waiving the procedural rights set forth herein as to the matters described herein.

                                            By:  ________/s/___________
                                                  Name:  Francois Oloa
                                                  Title:  President
                                                  Universal Debt Services Inc.

State of:  New York

County of:  Queens


On this the 15 day of May 2014, before me, Chanel Boles, the undersigned officer, personally appeared Francois Oloa who acknowledged himself/herself to be the President of Universal Debt Services Inc., a corporation, and that he/she as such President, being authorized so to do, executed the foregoing instrument for the purposes therein contained, by signing the name of the corporation by himself/herself as Francois Oloa.

In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand.


                                                       _________/s/_________
                                                       Notary Public  
                                                       Date Commission Expires:  3/5/2016



Administrative Orders and Settlements