DOB: Evans Law Associates, P.C. - NOI CD-CP

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IN THE MATTER OF:

EVANS LAW ASSOCIATES, P.C.
a/k/a EVANS LAW ASSOCIATES, PLLC
a/k/a EVANS LAW ASSOCIATES, ELLC
("Evans Law")

JASON J. EVANS ("Jason Evans")

     (collectively, "Respondents")

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NOTICE OF INTENT TO ISSUE
ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST

NOTICE OF INTENT TO IMPOSE
CIVIL PENALTY

AND

NOTICE OF RIGHT TO HEARING


I. LEGAL AUTHORITY AND JURISDICTION

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”).

Pursuant to the authority granted by Section 36a-17 of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Commissioner, through the Consumer Credit Division of the Department of Banking (“Division”), has investigated the activities of Respondents to determine if they have violated, are violating or are about to violate the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes or Regulations within the jurisdiction of the Commissioner.

Section 36a-17(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

The commissioner, in the commissioner’s discretion, may, subject to the provisions of section 36a-21 and the Freedom of Information Act, as defined in section 1-200, (1) make such public or private investigations or examinations within or outside this state, concerning any person subject to the jurisdiction of the commissioner, as the commissioner deems necessary to carry out the duties of the commissioner . . . .

Section 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides that:

Whenever it appears to the commissioner that any person has violated, is violating or is about to violate any provision of the general statutes within the jurisdiction of the commissioner, or any regulation, rule, or order adopted or issued thereunder, the commissioner may send a notice to such person by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, or by any express delivery carrier that provides a dated delivery receipt.  The notice shall be deemed received by the person on the earlier of the date of actual receipt, or seven days after mailing or sending.  Any such notice shall include:  (1) A statement of the time, place, and nature of the hearing; (2) a statement of the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held; (3) a reference to the particular sections of the general statutes, regulations, rules, or orders alleged to have been violated; (4) a short and plain statement of the matters asserted; and (5) a statement indicating that such person may file a written request for a hearing on the matters asserted within fourteen days of receipt of the notice.  If a hearing is requested within the time specified in the notice, the commissioner shall hold a hearing upon the matters asserted in the notice, unless the person fails to appear at the hearing.  After the hearing, the commissioner shall determine whether an order to cease and desist should be issued against the person named in the notice.  If 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.

Section 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides that:

(1)  Whenever the commissioner finds as the result of an investigation that any person has violated any provision of the general statutes within the jurisdiction of the commissioner, or any regulation, rule or order adopted or issued thereunder, the commissioner may send a notice to such person by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, or by any express delivery carrier that provides a dated delivery receipt.  The notice shall be deemed received by the person on the earlier of the date of actual receipt or seven days after mailing or sending.  Any such notice shall include:  (A) A statement of the time, place, and nature of the hearing; (B) a statement of the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held; (C) a reference to the particular sections of the general statutes, regulations, rules or orders alleged to have been violated; (D) a short and plain statement of the matters asserted; (E) the maximum penalty that may be imposed for such violation; and (F) a statement indicating that such person may file a written request for a hearing on the matters asserted not later than fourteen days after receipt of the notice.

(2)  If a hearing is requested within the time specified in the notice, the commissioner shall hold a hearing upon the matters asserted in the notice unless such person fails to appear at the hearing.  After the hearing, if the commissioner finds that the person has violated any such provision, regulation, rule or order the commissioner may, in the commissioner’s discretion and in addition to any other remedy authorized by law, order that a civil penalty not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars per violation be imposed upon such person.  If 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.

(3)  Each action undertaken by the commissioner under this subsection shall be in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.

Section 36a-804(b) of the 2016 Supplement to the General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

Whenever it appears to the commissioner that any person has violated, is violating or is about to violate any of the provisions of sections 36a-800 to 36a-812, inclusive, or any regulation adopted pursuant thereto, . . . the commissioner may take action against such person . . . in accordance with sections 36a-50 and 36a-52.


II.  MATTERS ASSERTED

1. Evans Law is a New York professional corporation with an office at 5355 Main Street, Floor 2, Williamsville, New York.  Evans Law previously had offices at 3637 Union Road, Cheektowaga, New York (“Union Road Office”), and 3842 Harlem Road, Suite 400-329, Cheektowaga, New York.
2. Jason Evans is the president and registered agent of Evans Law.
3. Evans Law, acting through Jason Evans, has previously been the subject of enforcement actions in Connecticut, as more fully described below.
4.
On September 6, 2012, as a result of an investigation by the Commissioner, through the Division, pursuant to Section 36a-17(a) of the then applicable Connecticut General Statutes, Evans Law entered into a Consent Order with the Commissioner in which it agreed to:  (a) pay $3,000 as a civil penalty for allegedly acting as a consumer collection agency in Connecticut without a license, and (b) immediately cease and desist from acting as consumer collection agency in Connecticut without a license in violation of Section 36a-801(a) of the then applicable Connecticut General Statutes (“Consent Order”).
5. Evans Law was subsequently issued a license to act as a consumer collection agency in Connecticut by the Commissioner on September 25, 2012.  In its application for the license, Evans Law disclosed that Jason Evans was Managing Member and sole stockholder.
6. On August 19, 2013, Evans Law filed an application for the renewal of its license to act as a consumer collection agency in Connecticut from the Union Road Office.  The license was issued on October 1, 2013, and was set to expire, by its terms, on September 30, 2015.
7. However, on March 16, 2015, the Commissioner received notice from Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America that bond number 775204879 CT issued on behalf of Evans Law with respect to its consumer collection agency license for the Union Road Office would be cancelled, effective on May 1, 2015.
8. As a result, on April 22, 2015, pursuant to Section 4-182(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Division sent a letter to Evans Law providing it an opportunity to show compliance with all lawful requirements for retention of its consumer collection agency license in Connecticut.
9. Evans Law failed to file with the Commissioner a letter of reinstatement of the bond or a new bond and did not surrender its license.
10. Therefore, on June 8, 2015, the Commissioner issued a Notice of Automatic Suspension, Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Revoke Consumer Collection Agency License, Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist and Notice of Right to Hearing (“June 2015 Notice and Order”) against Evans Law.
11. On June 9, 2015, the June 2015 Notice and Order was sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to Evans Law, which was received by Evans Law on June 12, 2015.
12. Evans Law failed to request a hearing or contest the allegations in the June 2015 Notice and Order, and as a result, on July 14, 2015, the Commissioner issued an Order Revoking Consumer Collection Agency License and Order to Cease and Desist against Evans Law (“July 2015 Order”).  As a result of the July 2015 Order, Evans Law was no longer licensed to act as a consumer collection agency in Connecticut from the Union Road Office or any other location, and was ordered to immediately cease and desist from acting as a consumer collection agency in Connecticut without a license.
13. On April 5, 2016, a Connecticut consumer debtor filed a complaint with the Department of Banking concerning Respondents’ consumer collection activities in Connecticut.  The complaint enclosed documentation that Evans Law identified itself on its letterhead as “Evans Law Associates, ELLC”.
14. The collection letter dated April 5, 2016, concerning consumer debt, explicitly stated that it was “an attempt to collect a debt”.  Such activity would be in violation of:  (a) the Consent Order, in which Evans Law agreed to immediately cease and desist from acting as consumer collection agency in Connecticut without a license; (b) the July 2015 Order, in which Evans Law again agreed to immediately cease and desist from acting as a consumer collection agency in Connecticut without a license; and (c) Section 36a-801(a) of the 2016 Supplement to the General Statutes, which prohibits unlicensed consumer collection activity.
15. Upon information and belief, Evans Law’s self-identification as an “ELLC” on its letterhead was a scrivener’s error and the alleged “ELLC” company instead meant to self-identify itself as a “PLLC”.  However, neither “Evans Law Associates, PLLC” nor “Evans Law Associates, ELLC” is registered with the New York State Department of State.
16. Evans Law has never been licensed by the Commissioner to act as a consumer collection agency in Connecticut from 5355 Main Street, Floor 2, Williamsville, New York (“Williamsville Office”).  However, in the consumer debtor’s April 6, 2016 complaint, Evans Law lists only the Williamsville Office as its location.
17. Jason Evans is not licensed as an attorney in Connecticut.
18. As a result of the foregoing, beginning no later than April 5, 2016, Respondents have acted as a consumer collection agency in this state from the Williamsville Office, and at no time relevant hereto were Respondents licensed to act as a consumer collection agency in Connecticut nor were Respondents otherwise exempt from such licensure.


III.  STATUTORY BASIS FOR ORDER TO CEASE
AND DESIST AND IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY

Section 36a-800 of the 2016 Supplement to the General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

(2)  “Consumer collection agency” means any person (A) engaged as a third party in the business of collecting or receiving for payment for others of any account, bill or other indebtedness from a consumer debtor . . . .

(3)  “Consumer debtor” means any natural person, not an organization, who has incurred indebtedness or owes a debt for personal, family or household purposes . . . .

(4)  “Creditor” means a person . . . that retains, hires, or engages the services of a consumer collection agency[.]

Section 36a-801(a) of the 2016 Supplement to the General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

No person shall act within this state as a consumer collection agency unless such person has first obtained a consumer collection agency license for such person’s main office and each branch office where such person’s business is conducted.  A consumer collection agency is acting within this state if it . . . (2) has its place of business located outside this state and (A) collects from consumer debtors . . . who reside within this state for creditors who are located within this state . . . [or] (3) has its place of business located outside this state and regularly collects from consumer debtors . . . who reside within this state for creditors who are located outside this state . . . .

1. Evans Law’s acting within this state as a consumer collection agency without a consumer collection agency license, as more fully described in paragraphs 1 through 16 and 18, inclusive, of the Matters Asserted, constitutes a violation of the Consent Order and the July 2015 Order, both of which are orders of the Commissioner.  Such violation forms a basis to issue an order to cease and desist pursuant to Section 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, and an order imposing civil penalty pursuant to Section 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  Section 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes authorizes the Commissioner to impose a civil penalty upon Evans Law in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation.
2. Jason Evans’ acting within this state as a consumer collection agency without a consumer collection agency license, as more fully described in paragraphs 1 through 18, inclusive, of the Matters Asserted, constitutes a violation of Section 36a-801(a) of the 2016 Supplement to the General Statutes.  Such violation forms a basis to issue an order to cease and desist 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 an order imposing 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.  Section 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes authorizes the Commissioner to impose a civil penalty upon Jason Evans in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation.


IV.  NOTICE OF INTENT TO ISSUE ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST,
NOTICE OF INTENT TO IMPOSE CIVIL PENALTY
AND NOTICE OF RIGHT TO HEARING

WHEREAS, the Commissioner has reason to believe that Respondents have engaged in acts or conduct which forms a basis to issue an order to cease and desist against Respondents 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 to impose a civil penalty upon each Respondent pursuant to Section 36a-804(b) of the 2016 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes.

NOW THEREFORE, notice is hereby given to Evans Law that the Commissioner intends to issue an order requiring Evans Law to CEASE AND DESIST from violating Section 36a-801(a) of the 2016 Supplement to the General Statutes, and impose a CIVIL PENALTY upon Evans Law as set forth herein, subject to Evans Law’s right to a hearing on the allegation set forth above.

FURTHER, notice is hereby given to Jason Evans that the Commissioner intends to issue an order requiring Jason Evans to CEASE AND DESIST from violating Section 36a-801(a) of the 2016 Supplement to the General Statutes, and impose a CIVIL PENALTY upon Jason Evans as set forth herein, subject to Jason Evans’ right to a hearing on the allegation set forth above.

A hearing will be granted to each Respondent if a written request for a hearing is received by the Department of Banking, Consumer Credit Division, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut 06103 1800 within fourteen (14) days following each Respondent’s receipt of this Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty and Notice of Right to Hearing as set forth in Sections 36a-52(a) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  This Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty and Notice of Right to Hearing shall be deemed received on the earlier of the date of actual receipt, or seven days after mailing or sending.  To request a hearing, complete and return the enclosed Appearance and Request for Hearing Form to the above address. If any Respondent will not be represented by an attorney at the hearing, please complete the Appearance and Request for Hearing Form as “pro se”.  Once a written request for a hearing is received, the Commissioner may issue a notification of hearing and designation of hearing officer that acknowledges receipt of a request for a hearing, designates a hearing officer and sets the date of the hearing in accordance with Section 4-177 of the Connecticut General Statutes and Section 36a-1-21 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.  If a hearing is requested, the hearing will be held on December 1, 2016, at 10 a.m., at the Department of Banking, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut.

The hearing will be held in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 54 of the Connecticut General Statutes, unless Respondents fail to appear at the requested hearing.  At such hearing, each Respondent will have the right to appear and present evidence, rebuttal evidence and argument on all issues of fact and law to be considered by the Commissioner.

If Evans Law does not request a hearing within the time prescribed, the Commissioner will issue an order that Evans Law cease and desist from violating Section 36a-801(a) of the 2016 Supplement to the 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 Evans Law.

If Jason Evans does not request a hearing within the time prescribed, the Commissioner will issue an order that Jason Evans cease and desist from violating Section 36a-801(a) of the 2016 Supplement to the 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 Jason Evans.

Dated at Hartford, Connecticut
this 20th day of October 2016.                              ________/s/_________
                                                                       Jorge L. Perez
                                                                       Banking Commissioner


 
CERTIFICATION

I hereby certify that on this 20th day of October 2016, I caused to be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, the foregoing Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty and Notice of Right to Hearing to:  Evans Law Associates, P.C., 3842 Harlem Road, Suite 400-329, Cheektowaga, New York 14215, certified mail no. 70123050000069998461; Evans Law Associates, PLLC, 5355 Main Street, Floor 2, Williamsville, New York 14221, certified mail no. 70123050000069998485; Evans Law Associates, P.C., c/o Jason J. Evans, Esq., President, Registered Agent, 218 N Long Street, Williamsville, New York 14221, certified mail no. 70123050000069998508; Evans Law Associates, ELLC, 5355 Main Street, Floor 2, Williamsville, New York 14221, certified mail no. 70123050000069975882; Jason J. Evans, 3842 Harlem Road Suite 400-329, Cheektowaga, New York 14215, certified mail no. 70123050000069998478; Jason J. Evans, 5355 Main Street, Floor 2, Williamsville, New York 14221, certified mail no. 70123050000069998492; and Jason J. Evans, 218 N Long Street, Williamsville, New York 14221, certified mail no. 70123050000069998515.

                                                                            ________/s/_________
                                                                            Amy Grillo
                                                                            Secretary


Administrative Orders and Settlements