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IN THE MATTER OF:
JHASS GROUP, L.L.C.
WHEREAS, the Banking Commissioner (“Commissioner”) is charged with the administration of Sections 36a-671 to 36a-671d, inclusive, of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes, contained in Part II of Chapter 669 of the Connecticut General Statutes, “Debt Adjusters and Debt Negotiation”;
WHEREAS, JHass is an Arizona limited liability company that is not currently licensed to engage or offer to engage in debt negotiation in Connecticut;
WHEREAS, JHass has an application pending for such license;
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 JHass 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 November 5, 2010, the Commissioner, acting pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes and Sections 36a-52(a), 36a-52(b) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, issued a Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty and Notice of Right to Hearing (collectively “Notice”) against JHass, which Notice is incorporated herein by reference;
WHEREAS, the Notice alleges that JHass offered to engage and engaged in debt negotiation in this state without obtaining the required license, in violation of Section 36a-671(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes, entered into service contracts for debt negotiation that did not comport with applicable statutory requirements, in violation of Section 36a-671b(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes, and made statements in documents filed with the Commissioner that were, at the time and in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, false or misleading in a material respect, in violation of Section 36a-53a of the Connecticut General Statutes;
WHEREAS, on November 5, 2010, the Notice was sent by facsimile and mailed to JHass by registered mail, return receipt requested (Registered Mail No. RB028037218US), and to JHass’ agents by registered mail, return receipt requested (Registered Mail Nos. RB028037235US and RB028037221US);
WHEREAS, JHass received the Notice by facsimile on November 5, 2010, and received the Notice sent by registered mail on November 12, 2010, and JHass’ agents received the Notice sent by registered mail on November 8 and November 12, 2010, respectively;
WHEREAS, on November 8, 2010, the Department received an Appearance and Request for Hearing form from JHass in which JHass requested a hearing on the Notice, which hearing is currently scheduled for May 26, 2011;
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, Section 36a-50(b)(3) of the Connecticut General Statutes enables the Commissioner to apply to the Superior Court for the judicial district of Hartford for an order of restitution of any sums shown by the Commissioner to have been obtained by a person in violation of any provision of the general statutes within the jurisdiction of the Commissioner, plus interest at the rate set forth in Section 37-3a of the Connecticut General Statutes;
WHEREAS, both the Commissioner and JHass acknowledge the possible consequences of formal administrative and judicial proceedings, and JHass voluntarily agrees to consent to the entry of the sanctions 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 and judicial proceedings concerning the allegations contained herein;
WHEREAS, JHass herein represents to the Commissioner that it has not offered to engage or engaged in debt negotiation activity in Connecticut following its receipt of the Notice, and further represents that it will not offer to engage or engage in debt negotiation in Connecticut until it obtains the required license;
WHEREAS, JHass has fully cooperated with the Commission in connection with resolution of the allegations set forth in the Notice;
WHEREAS, JHass 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, JHass, 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 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 SANCTIONS
WHEREAS, JHass, through its execution of this Consent Order, consents to the Commissioner’s entry of a Consent Order imposing the following sanctions:
JHass 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 Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000) as a civil penalty in accordance with the following schedule:
Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000) no later than the date this Consent Order is executed by JHass; an additional
Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000) on or before July 1, 2011; and an additional
Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000) on or before August 1, 2011.
|2.||No later than sixty (60) days after this Consent Order is executed by JHass, JHass shall refund to each Connecticut debtor who entered into an agreement with JHass for debt negotiation services on or after October 1, 2009 (“Connecticut Debtors”) all fees and charges paid by such Connecticut Debtor, whether paid to JHass or to a third party (“Refund”). Such Refund may be made by JHass by deposit directly into a Connecticut Debtor’s reserve account already established at the independent third-party service provider identified in the Notice (“TPSP”); however, in such case, JHass shall be responsible for paying all costs or fees charged by the TPSP in connection with the Connecticut Debtor maintaining such account;|
|3.||No later than thirty (30) days after this Consent Order is executed by JHass, JHass shall, in a form and manner to be pre-approved by Marlene M. Mannix, Director, Consumer Credit Division, Department of Banking (“Director”), notify in writing all Connecticut Debtors of the availability of the Refund;|
No later than ninety (90) days after this Consent Order is executed by JHass, JHass shall provide a report to the Director, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut 06103-1800, or firstname.lastname@example.org, demonstrating to the satisfaction of the Director the completion of all Refunds required by paragraph 2;
Upon the Commissioner’s execution of this Consent Order, JHass’ pending application shall be deemed withdrawn. Should JHass apply for licensure to engage or offer to engage in debt negotiation in Connecticut in the future, JHass shall, in connection with such application, retain at its own expense an independent, unaffiliated third-party auditor or compliance firm (“Auditor”), to be approved by the Director, to conduct a review of the procedures and policies in place to ascertain JHass’ ability to comply with the requirements imposed by Sections 36a-671 et seq., of the Connecticut General Statutes. The Auditor shall provide a written report of its findings to the Director with a copy to JHass before the Commissioner takes any action on the pending application.
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 JHass based upon the allegations contained herein; provided that issuance of this Consent Order is without prejudice to the right of the Commissioner to take enforcement action against JHass 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 JHass and reflected herein is subsequently discovered to be untrue;|
This Consent Order shall become final when issued.
Dated at Hartford, Connecticut
this 24th day of May 2011. ________/s/_________
Howard F. Pitkin
I, Jeff Hass, state on behalf of JHass Group, L.L.C. a/k/a J. Hass Group, 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 JHass Group, L.L.C. a/k/a J. Hass Group, LLC, that JHass Group, L.L.C. a/k/a J. Hass Group, LLC, agrees freely and without threat or coercion of any kind to comply with the sanctions entered herein; and that JHass Group, L.L.C. a/k/a J. Hass Group, LLC, voluntarily agrees to enter into this Consent Order, expressly waiving the procedural rights set forth herein as to the matters described herein.
Name: Jeff Hass
JHass Group, L.L.C.
a/k/a J. Hass Group, LLC
State of: Arizona
County of: Maricopa
On this the 23d day of May 2011, before me, _______________________________, the undersigned officer, personally appeared Jeff Hass who acknowledged himself/herself to be the Member/Chief Knowledge Officer of JHass Group, L.L.C. a/k/a J. Hass Group, LLC, a member managed/manager managed limited liability company, and that he/she as such Member, being authorized so to do, executed the foregoing instrument for the purposes therein contained, by signing the name of the limited liability company by himself/herself as Member.
In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand.
Date Commission Expires: