DOB: U.S. Equity Advantage Holdings - CO

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IN THE MATTER OF:

U.S. EQUITY ADVANTAGE
HOLDINGS, INC. f/k/a U.S. EQUITY
ADVANTAGE HOLDINGS, LLC

       ("U.S. Equity")
   
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CONSENT ORDER        

WHEREAS, the Banking Commissioner (“Commissioner”) is charged with the administration of Part V of Chapter 668, Sections 36a-595 to 36a-612, inclusive, of the Connecticut General Statutes, “Payment Instruments.  Money Transmission”;
 
WHEREAS, U.S. Equity Advantage, Inc. (“USEA”), a Florida corporation with its main office located at 800 N. Magnolia Avenue, Suite 1275, Orlando, Florida, has been licensed as a money transmitter in this state since May 19, 2014, and U.S. Equity has never been licensed as a money transmitter in this state;
 
WHEREAS, U.S. Equity is a Florida corporation also located at 800 N. Magnolia Avenue, Suite 1275, Orlando, Florida;
 
WHEREAS, USEA is currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of U.S. Equity;
 
WHEREAS, effective August 23, 2012, U.S. Equity Advantage Holdings, LLC, a Florida limited liability company since November 1, 2005, was converted into U.S. Equity;

WHEREAS, the Commissioner, through the Consumer Credit Division of the Department of Banking, conducted an investigation pursuant to Section 36a-17 of the Connecticut General Statutes into the activities of U.S. Equity 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, the Commissioner alleges that from approximately January 2008 to May 2014, U.S. Equity engaged in the business of money transmission in this state without a license, transmitting a total volume of over $73 million in this state, in violation of Section 36a-597 of the Connecticut General Statutes;
 
WHEREAS, the Commissioner believes that such allegation would support initiation of enforcement proceedings against U.S. Equity, including proceedings to issue a cease and desist order pursuant to Sections 36a-608(c) and 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, to issue an order to make restitution pursuant to Sections 36a-608(c) and 36a-50(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and to impose a civil penalty of up to one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per violation pursuant to Sections 36a-608(c) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes;
 
WHEREAS, initiation of such enforcement 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 U.S. Equity acknowledge the possible consequences of formal administrative proceedings, and U.S. Equity voluntarily agrees to consent to the entry of the sanctions imposed below without admitting or denying 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, the Commissioner and U.S. Equity now desire to resolve the matters set forth herein;
 
WHEREAS, U.S. Equity specifically assures the Commissioner that the violation alleged herein shall not occur in the future;
 
WHEREAS, U.S. Equity acknowledges that this Consent Order is a public record and is a reportable event for purposes of the regulatory disclosure questions on the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry (“NMLS”), as applicable;
 
AND WHEREAS, U.S. Equity through its execution of this Consent Order, voluntarily agrees to waive its procedural rights, including a right to a 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.


CONSENT TO ENTRY OF SANCTIONS

WHEREAS, U.S. Equity, through its execution of this Consent Order, consents to the Commissioner’s entry of a Consent Order imposing the following sanctions:

1. U.S. Equity shall cease and desist from engaging in the business of money transmission in this state without a license, in violation of Section 36a-597 of the Connecticut General Statutes; and
2. U.S. Equity shall remit to the Department of Banking by wire transfer, cashier’s check, certified check or money order, made payable to “Treasurer, State of Connecticut”, the sum of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($150,000) as a civil penalty in four installments as follows:  (a) the first payment of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000) shall be remitted no later than the date this Consent Order is executed by U.S. Equity; (b) a second payment of Thirty-Four Thousand Dollars ($34,000) shall be remitted no later than October 1, 2016; (c) a third payment of Thirty-Three Thousand Dollars ($33,000) shall be remitted no later than November 1, 2016; and (d) a fourth payment of Thirty-Three Thousand Dollars ($33,000) shall be remitted no later than December 1, 2016.

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 U.S. Equity based upon the allegation set forth herein; provided that issuance of this Consent Order is without prejudice to the right of the Commissioner to take enforcement action against U.S. Equity 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 U.S. Equity and reflected herein is subsequently discovered to be untrue;
3. Upon issuance of this Consent Order by the Commissioner, and so long as this Consent Order is promptly disclosed by U.S. Equity and its control persons on NMLS, as applicable, nothing in the issuance of this Consent Order shall adversely affect the ability of U.S. Equity to apply for or obtain initial or renewal licenses under Part V of Chapter 668, Sections 36a-595 et seq., of the Connecticut General Statutes, provided that all applicable legal requirements for such licenses are satisfied; and
4. This Consent Order shall become final when issued.


Issued at Hartford, Connecticut
this 31st day of August 2016.             ______/s/__________
                                                     Jorge L. Perez
                                                     Banking Commissioner

 

I, Robert M. Steenbergh, state on behalf of U.S. Equity Advantage Holdings, Inc. f/k/a U.S. Equity Advantage Holdings, LLC, 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 U.S. Equity Advantage Holdings, Inc. f/k/a U.S. Equity Advantage Holdings, LLC agrees freely and without threat or coercion of any kind to comply with the sanctions entered and terms and conditions ordered herein; and that U.S. Equity Advantage Holdings, Inc. f/k/a U.S. Equity Advantage Holdings, LLC 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:  Robert M. Steenbergh
                                                    Title:  President, CEO
                                                    U.S. Equity Advantage Holdings, Inc.
                                                    f/k/a U.S. Equity Advantage Holdings, LLC


State of:  Florida

County of:  Orange

On this the 25th day of August 2016, before me, Patricia A. Weeks, the undersigned officer, personally appeared Robert M. Steenbergh who acknowledged himself/herself to be the President, CEO of U.S. Equity Advantage Holdings, Inc. f/k/a U.S. Equity Advantage Holdings, LLC, a corporation, and that he/she as such President, CEO, 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 President, CEO.

In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand.


                                                     __________/s/___________
                                                     Notary Public  
                                                     Date Commission Expires:  04/21/2017

Administrative Orders and Settlements