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IN THE MATTER OF:
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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, at all times relevant hereto, Debt Settlement Solutions was a Florida corporation having its principal place of business at 1645 Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard, Suite 420, West Palm Beach, Florida;
WHEREAS, the Commissioner, through the Consumer Credit Division of the Department of Banking, conducted an investigation pursuant to Section 36a-17(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes into the activities of Debt Settlement Solutions 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 June 25, 2013, the Commissioner, acting pursuant to Sections 36a-50(c), 36a-671a(b), 36a-52(a) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, issued an 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 against Debt Settlement Solutions (“Notice”), which Notice is incorporated by reference herein;
WHEREAS, on June 26, 2013, the Notice was mailed to Debt Settlement Solutions by certified mail, return receipt requested (Certified Mail No. 70121010000173170201);
WHEREAS, on July 1, 2013, Debt Settlement Solutions received the Notice, and no request for a hearing has been received by the Commissioner;
WHEREAS, the Notice alleged that Debt Settlement Solutions engaged in debt negotiation in this state without obtaining the required license, which constitutes a violation of Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes in effect prior to October 1, 2011;
WHEREAS, as part of the Order to Make Restitution contained in the Notice, the Commissioner ordered that not later than thirty (30) days from the date the Order to Make Restitution becomes permanent, Debt Settlement Solutions repay identified amounts plus interest to certain identified Connecticut residents and repay to any other Connecticut resident who entered into an agreement for debt negotiation services with Debt Settlement Solutions, on or after October 1, 2009, any fees plus interest and, among other things, provide evidence of such repayments to the Director of the Consumer Credit 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 Debt Settlement Solutions now desire to resolve the matters alleged in the Notice and set forth herein;
WHEREAS, Debt Settlement Solutions voluntarily agrees to consent to the entry of the sanction described below without admitting or denying any allegation contained in the Notice and set forth herein and solely for the purpose of obviating the need for further formal administrative proceedings concerning the allegation contained in the Notice and set forth herein;
WHEREAS, Debt Settlement Solutions herein represents that as of May 2011, it ceased and desisted from engaging or offering to engage in debt negotiation in this state;
WHEREAS, by e-mail dated July 8, 2013, Debt Settlement Solutions represented that prior to the issuance of the Notice, it had refunded fees to ten (10) of the sixteen (16) Connecticut residents identified in the Notice; one Connecticut resident never paid a fee; another Connecticut resident could not be located; and that the other four (4) Connecticut residents had opted to remain in Debt Settlement Solutions’ program at no cost to such residents;
WHEREAS, Debt Settlement Solutions herein represents that it is not aware of any additional Connecticut clients who had retained Debt Settlement Solutions for debt negotiation services since October 1, 2009;
WHEREAS, Debt Settlement Solutions specifically assures the Commissioner that the alleged violation contained in the Notice and set forth herein shall not occur in the future;
WHEREAS, Debt Settlement Solutions agrees that the Notice may be used in construing the terms of this Consent Order and agrees to the language of this Consent Order;
AND WHEREAS, Debt Settlement Solutions, 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 allegation contained in the 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, Debt Settlement Solutions, through its execution of this Consent Order, consents to the Commissioner’s entry of a Consent Order imposing the following sanction:
Debt Settlement Solutions, Inc., shall immediately cease and desist from engaging or offering to engage in unlicensed debt negotiation activity in Connecticut, in violation of Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes in effect prior to October 1, 2011.
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 Debt Settlement Solutions based upon the allegation contained in the 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 Debt Settlement Solutions 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 Debt Settlement Solutions and reflected herein is subsequently discovered to be untrue; and|
|3.||This Consent Order shall become final when issued.|
Issued at Hartford, Connecticut
this 15th day of August 2013.
Howard F. Pitkin
I, Jason Simons, state on behalf of Debt Settlement Solutions, 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 Debt Settlement Solutions, Inc.; that Debt Settlement Solutions, Inc., agrees freely and without threat or coercion of any kind to comply with the sanction entered and terms and conditions ordered herein; and that Debt Settlement Solutions, Inc., voluntarily agrees to enter into this Consent Order, expressly waiving the procedural rights set forth herein as to the matters described herein.
Name: Jason Simons
Debt Settlement Solutions, Inc.
State of: Massachusetts
County of: Middlesex
On this the 9th day of August 2013, before me, Joyce N. Davagian, the undersigned officer, personally appeared Jason Simons who acknowledged himself/herself to be the President/CEO of Debt Settlement Solutions, Inc., a Florida 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.
Date Commission Expires: 23 December 2016