DOB: Benchmark Municipal Tax Services, Ltd. - CO

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IN THE MATTER OF:

BENCHMARK MUNICIPAL
TAX SERVICES, LTD.
NMLS # 1483181

   
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CONSENT ORDER        

WHEREAS, Benchmark is a Connecticut corporation with an office at 3543 Main Street, Second Floor, Bridgeport, Connecticut;

WHEREAS, the Banking Commissioner (“Commissioner”) is charged with the administration of Part XII of Chapter 669, Sections 36a-800 to 36a-812, 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”);

WHEREAS, on May 4, 2015, Benchmark filed a Main Office – Application for Consumer Collection Agency License with the Commissioner (“Application”);

WHEREAS, on April 8, 2016, Benchmark resubmitted its Application on the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry (“NMLS”);

WHEREAS, Benchmark filed its Application out of caution after consultation with the Department of Banking, notwithstanding its good faith belief that it did not, and does not, need to be licensed by the Commissioner as a consumer collection agency as it believes it is not subject to the provisions of Sections 36a-800 to 36a-812, inclusive, of the Connecticut General Statutes;

WHEREAS, the Commissioner, through the Consumer Credit Division of the Department of Banking, who has not received any consumer complaint against Benchmark, and solely as a result of receiving Benchmark’s Application, conducted an examination pursuant to Section 36a-17 of the Connecticut General Statutes into the activities of Benchmark to determine if it had violated, was violating or was about to violate the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes and Regulations within the jurisdiction of the Commissioner;

WHEREAS, as a result of the examination, the Commissioner alleges that Benchmark, on or about October 1, 2013 to the present, has acted within this state as a consumer collection agency without the requisite license, such actions being not in compliance with Section 36a-801(a) of the 2016 Supplement to the General Statutes;

WHEREAS, the Commissioner believes that such allegation could support the initiation of administrative proceedings against Benchmark, including, without limitation, proceedings to issue a cease and desist order pursuant to Section 36a-804(b) of the 2016 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and impose a civil penalty pursuant to Section 36a-804(b) of the 2016 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes;

WHEREAS, initiation of such proceedings would constitute a “contested case” within the meaning of Section 4-166(4) of the 2016 Supplement to the 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, both the Commissioner and Benchmark acknowledge the possible ramifications of formal administrative proceedings, including, but not limited to, the uncertainty of the outcome for either party, and Benchmark voluntarily agrees to consent to the entry of the below obligations without admitting the allegation set forth herein, and solely for the purpose of obviating the need for formal administrative proceedings concerning the allegation set forth herein;

WHEREAS, Benchmark denies liability for its past and current conduct;

WHEREAS, Benchmark acknowledges that this Consent Order is a matter of public record and is a reportable event for purposes of the disclosure questions on NMLS, as applicable;

AND WHEREAS, Benchmark, through its execution of this Consent Order, voluntarily agrees to waive its procedural rights, including a right to notice and an opportunity for a hearing as it pertains to the allegation set forth herein, and voluntarily waives its right to seek judicial review or otherwise challenge or contest the validity of this Consent Order.


BENCHMARK'S OBLIGATIONS UNDER THIS CONSENT ORDER 

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

1. No later than the date this Consent Order is executed by Benchmark, it shall remit to the Department of Banking by cashier’s check, certified check or money order made payable to “Treasurer, State of Connecticut”, the sum of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000) as a civil penalty; and
2. Benchmark shall immediately cease and desist from acting as a consumer collection agency in Connecticut without a license, as set forth in Section 36a-801(a) of the 2016 Supplement to the General Statutes.

CONSENT ORDER

NOW THEREFORE, the Commissioner enters the following:

1. The obligations 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 Benchmark based upon the allegation contained herein; provided that issuance of this Consent Order is without prejudice to the right of the Commissioner to take enforcement action against Benchmark 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 Benchmark and reflected herein is subsequently discovered to be untrue;
3. Subject to the foregoing, upon issuance of this Consent Order by the Commissioner, a license will be issued to Benchmark under Part XII of Chapter 669, Sections 36a-800 to 36a-812, inclusive, of the Connecticut General Statutes, and so long as proper disclosure of this Consent Order is made, as applicable, on NMLS, nothing in the issuance of this Consent Order shall adversely affect the ability of Benchmark to apply for or obtain renewal licenses under Part XII of Chapter 669, Sections 36a-800 to 36a-812, inclusive, of the Connecticut General Statutes, provided that all legal requirements for such licenses are satisfied; and
4. This Consent Order shall become final when issued.


Issued at Hartford, Connecticut
this 27th day of May 2016.              ______/s/__________
                                                  Jorge L. Perez
                                                  Banking Commissioner

I, Mark Zucker, state on behalf of Benchmark Municipal Tax Services, Ltd., 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 Benchmark Municipal Tax Services, Ltd.; that Benchmark Municipal Tax Services, Ltd., agrees freely and without threat or coercion of any kind to comply with the obligations entered and terms and conditions ordered herein; and that Benchmark Municipal Tax Services, Ltd., 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:  
                                                    Title:  
                                                    Benchmark Municipal Tax Services, Ltd.
                                                 
State of:  Connecticut

County of:  Fairfield

On this the 24th day of May 2016, before me, Dan Ventura, the undersigned officer, personally appeared Mark Zucker who acknowledged himself to be the President of Benchmark Municipal Tax Services, Ltd., a corporation, 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 corporation by himself as President.

In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand.


                                                   _____________________
                                                   Notary Public  
                                                   Date Commission Expires: 


Administrative Orders and Settlements