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State Banking Commissioner Pitkin Issues Temporary Order to Cease and Desist Against JHASS Group, L.L.C. A/K/A J. Hass Group, LLC

Connecticut State Banking Commissioner Howard F. Pitkin issued an administrative order against JHASS GROUP, L.L.C. a/k/a J. HASS GROUP, LLC (“JHASS”) of Scottsdale, Arizona. The order included a Temporary Order to Cease and Desist a Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, a Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty, and a Notice of Right to Hearing.

The order alleges that JHASS offered to engage in debt negotiation and has engaged in debt negotiation in Connecticut without the required licensure. The agency alleges that in connection with its unlicensed debt negotiation activity, JHASS has collected fees from Connecticut debtors that violate Connecticut law. The notice further states that JHASS made false statements in a document filed with the Commissioner regarding the scope of its activities in their dealings with Connecticut consumers.

Under the notice, JHASS is subject to penalties not to exceed $2,880,000 in connection with the allegations set forth in the order and subject to its opportunity to request a hearing. The Commissioner concluded the public welfare required the issuance of Temporary Order to Cease and Desist.

“Please contact the Department of Banking before providing money to anyone who claims to be a debt negotiator,” Commissioner Pitkin stated. He stressed that consumers should contact the agency to find out if an individual or company they are working with is indeed licensed and operating in good standing.

The Consumer Affairs and Government Relations Division can be reached at (860) 240-8170, or toll-free at (800) 831-7225. The banking department also provides consumer education tips on its website.

State Banking Commissioner Pitkin Issues Temporary Order to Cease and Desist Against JHASS Group, L.L.C. A/K/A J. Hass Group, LLC
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State Banking Commissioner Pitkin Issues Temporary Order to Cease and Desist Against JHASS Group, L.L.C. A/K/A J. Hass Group, LLC

I. LEGAL AUTHORITY AND JURISDICTION

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”.

Pursuant to the authority granted by 36a-17(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes the Commissioner, through the Consumer Credit Division (“Division”) of the Department of Banking, has conducted an investigation to determine if Respondent has violated, is violating or is about to violate the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes within the jurisdiction of the Commissioner.

Section 36a-17(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides:

The commissioner, in the commissioner’s discretion, may 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 of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

(a) 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, . . . 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 . . . 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.

(b) If the commissioner finds that the public welfare requires immediate action, the commissioner may incorporate a finding to that effect in the notice sent in accordance with subsection (a) of this section and issue a temporary order requiring the person to cease and desist from the activity which constitutes such alleged violation and to take or refrain from taking such action as in the opinion of the commissioner will effectuate the purposes of this section. Such temporary order shall become effective on receipt and, unless set aside or modified by a court, shall remain in effect until the effective date of a permanent order or dismissal of the matters asserted in the notice.

Section 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, 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, . . . 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 . . . 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 within fourteen days of 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, . . . 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.

II. MATTERS ASSERTED

  1. Respondent is an Arizona limited liability company with a place of business located at 7590 E. Gray Road, # 204, Scottsdale, Arizona.
  2. At no time relevant hereto has Respondent been licensed to engage in or offer to engage in debt negotiation in this state.
  3. On Respondent’s website, Respondent is offering to assist debtors, not excluding Connecticut residents, in negotiating, or to attempt to negotiate on behalf of the debtor, the terms of each debtor’s obligations with one or more creditors of each debtor, for or with the expectation of a fee, commission or other valuable consideration.
  4. Respondent entered into a written contract for the provision of debt negotiation services on or about June 16, 2009, with a Connecticut resident who negotiated or agreed to the terms of the service contract in person, by mail, by telephone or via the Internet while physically present in this state (“Resident 1”). Respondent’s contract with Resident 1 was on-going and in effect on and after October 1, 2009.
  5. By letters dated October 14, 2009, and December 29, 2009, both sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, the Division informed Respondent that it had information indicating that Respondent was engaged in debt negotiation in the state of Connecticut without requisite licensure.
  6. In the October 14, 2009 letter, Respondent was advised to cease and desist from such activity until the required license had been procured.
  7. The October 14, 2009 letter was received by Respondent on October 19, 2009.
  8. In the December 29, 2009 letter, the Division requested that Respondent provide a “detailed description of the services JHass offers to consumers in this state and a listing of all contracts JHass entered into with Connecticut consumers.”
  9. The December 29, 2009 letter was received by Respondent on January 4, 2010.
  10. In correspondence to the Division dated January 4, 2010, Respondent stated that “[o]ur clients work with . . . [a third party service provider (“TPSP”)] to set up, administer and maintain an individual reserves account. . . . [O]ur clients have their own individual contractual relationship wherein our clients give . . . [the TPSP] permission, through automatic withdrawal, to take the amount of money called for in their contract for settlement negotiation from their checking or savings account on a monthly basis and deposits same into their personal account with . . . [the TPSP]. [The TPSP] . . . in turn distributes funds pursuant to the client’s contract with J. Hass Group.”
  11. Respondent entered into a written contract for the provision of debt negotiation services on or about February 23, 2010, with a Connecticut resident who negotiated or agreed to the terms of the service contract in person, by mail, by telephone or via the Internet while physically present in this state (“Resident 2”).
  12. The terms of the contract between Respondent and Resident 2 involved, among other things, payment of fees to Respondent based on fifteen percent (15%) of Resident 2’s total enrolled debt prior to Respondent achieving settlement, plus monthly fees in excess of forty dollars ($40) per month.
  13. On April 6, 2010, Respondent applied for a debt negotiation license in Connecticut (“Application”). Respondent’s Application remains pending.
  14. In connection with its Application, and in response to the Division’s December 29, 2009 letter, as more fully described in paragraphs 8 and 9 above, Respondent identified a total of three (3) Connecticut consumers with whom it had entered into written contracts for debt negotiation services on and after October 1, 2009.
  15. Resident 2 was not identified by Respondent in its Application through the disclosure described in paragraph 14 above.
  16. In connection with its Application, and in response to the Division’s December 29, 2009 letter, as more fully described in paragraphs 8 and 9 above, Respondent identified eleven (11) Connecticut consumers with whom it had entered into written contracts for debt negotiation services before October 1, 2009, which were on-going as of the date of its Application. For each of these 11 consumers, Respondent stated that the fees to Respondent were between fourteen percent (14%) and eighteen percent (18%) of the consumers’ enrolled debt.
  17. In connection with its Application, and in response to the Division’s December 29, 2009 letter, as more fully described in paragraphs 8 and 9 above, Respondent identified seven (7) Connecticut consumers with whom it had entered into written contracts for debt negotiation services before October 1, 2009, and who had since “graduated”, but did not specify the dates on which such “graduations” were achieved. For each of these 7 consumers, the fees to Respondent were fifteen percent (15%) of the consumers’ enrolled debt.
  18. Resident 1 was not identified by Respondent in its Application through the disclosures described in paragraphs 16 and 17 above.
  19. In connection with its Application, Respondent provided a copy of its Client Agreement for Debt Settlement Services (“Client Agreement”).
  20. Among other things, the Client Agreement: (a) states that Respondent’s program applies to unsecured debts, such as medical bills and credit card debts; and (b) requires a debtor to make monthly payments to a designated custodial account to be managed by an account agent, which payments will be used to pay settlements that the debtor has approved, to pay fees due to Respondent pursuant to the Client Agreement, and to pay fees due to the account agent.
  21. Among other things, the Client Agreement requires a debtor to pay Respondent fees based on fifteen percent (15%) of the total debt enrolled prior to Respondent achieving settlement, plus a set-up fee and a monthly service fee.
  22. On July 6, 2010, in connection with its Application, Respondent submitted a revised Client Agreement for Debt Settlement Services (“Revised Client Agreement”).
  23. Among other things, the Revised Client Agreement: (a) states that Respondent’s program applies to unsecured debts, such as medical bills and credit card debts; and (b) requires a debtor to make monthly payments to a designated custodial account to be managed by an account agent, which payments will be used to pay settlements that the debtor has approved, to pay fees due to Respondent pursuant to the Revised Client Agreement, and to pay fees due to the account agent.
  24. Among other things, the Revised Client Agreement requires a debtor to pay Respondent fees based on the total amount of debt enrolled prior to Respondent achieving settlement, plus a set-up fee and a monthly forty-nine dollar ($49) fee.
  25. In correspondence dated July 6, 2010 relating to its Application, Respondent identified a single TPSP (“Identified TPSP”) as the “repository of all of . . . [Respondent’s] clients’ funds.”
  26. Under the terms of written contracts with the Identified TPSP (“Identified TPSP Agreements”), debtors appoint and authorize the Identified TPSP to provide services related to the debtor’s contract with their identified debt settlement company. Specifically, the Identified TPSP Agreements authorize and appoint the Identified TPSP to debit funds from a bank account designated by the debtor via an Automatic Clearing House (ACH) Authorization and to deposit and hold those funds in a trust account. According to the terms of the Identified TPSP Agreements, the debits from the debtor’s designated bank account into the trust account are made for the purpose of satisfying the terms of the debt settlements negotiated by the debtor’s identified debt settlement company under separate contract between the debtor and the identified debt settlement company, and for paying fees to the Identified TPSP and the identified debt settlement company.
  27. As of mid-July 2010, Respondent is the identified debt settlement company on two hundred seventy-four (274) Identified TPSP Agreements entered into with Connecticut residents who negotiated or agreed to the terms of an underlying service contract with Respondent in person, by mail, by telephone or via the Internet while physically present in this state and pursuant to which Respondent has collected or is collecting from such debtors fees for debt negotiation.
  28. Of the 274 Identified TPSP Agreements described in paragraph 27 above, one hundred sixty-three (163) were entered into before October 1, 2009, but were in effect and fees were paid to Respondent on and after October 1, 2009. Of these 163 Identified TPSP Agreements, one hundred ten (110) were in effect and fees were paid to Respondent as of the date of Respondent’s Application.
  29. Of the 274 Identified TPSP Agreements described in paragraph 27 above, one hundred eleven (111) were entered into on and after October 1, 2009. Of these 111 Identified TPSP Agreements, ninety-five (95) were in effect and fees were paid to Respondent as of the date of Respondent’s Application.
  30. Of the 274 Identified TPSP Agreements described in paragraph 27 above, one hundred five (105) were entered into and fees were paid to Respondent after Respondent received the October 14, 2009, letter described in paragraphs 5 through 7, inclusive, above.
  31. In connection with the debtor accounts established through the 274 Identified TPSP Agreements, as more fully described in paragraph 27 above, Respondent has collected fees from debtors in an aggregate amount that exceeds fifty percent (50%) of the aggregate amount deposited by such debtors.
  32. In connection with the debtor accounts established through the 274 Identified TPSP Agreements, as more fully described in paragraph 27 above, Respondent has collected fees from debtors based on the total amount of enrolled debt prior to Respondent achieving settlement, and/or has collected initial fees in excess of fifty dollars ($50), and/or monthly fees in excess of eight dollars ($8) per creditor or forty dollars ($40) per month.
  33. As of the date of this 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, Respondent is collecting fees for debt negotiation from Connecticut debtors’ accounts established through Identified TPSP Agreements.

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

Section 36a-53a of the Connecticut General Statutes provides:

No person shall make or cause to be made orally or in any document filed with the commissioner or in any proceeding, investigation or examination under this title, any statement which is, at the time and in the light of the circumstances under which it is made, false or misleading in any material respect.

Section 36a-671 of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:

(a) As used in this section and sections 36a-671a to 36a-671d, inclusive, (1) “debt negotiation” means, for or with the expectation of a fee, commission or other valuable consideration, assisting a debtor in negotiating or attempting to negotiate on behalf of a debtor the terms of a debtor’s obligations with one or more . . . creditors of the debtor . . . ; (2) “debtor” means any individual who has incurred indebtedness or owes a debt for personal, family or household purposes . . . .

(b) No person shall engage or offer to engage in debt negotiation in this state without a license issued under this section for each location where debt negotiation will be conducted. . . . A person is engaging in debt negotiation in this state if such person: . . . (2) has a place of business located outside of this state and the debtor is a resident of this state who negotiates or agrees to the terms of the services contract in person, by mail, by telephone or via the Internet while physically present in this state. . . .

Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2010 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 the provisions of sections 36a-671 to 36a-671d, inclusive, . . . the commissioner may take action against such person . . . in accordance with sections 36a-50 and 36a-52.

Section 36a-671b(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes provides:

No person offering debt negotiation services may receive a fee, commission or other valuable consideration for the performance of any service the person offering debt negotiation services has agreed to perform for any consumer until the person offering debt negotiation services has fully performed such service. A person offering debt negotiation services may receive reasonable periodic payments as services are rendered, provided such payments are clearly stated in the contract. The commissioner may establish a schedule of maximum fees that a debt negotiator may charge for specific services.

The Schedule of Maximum Fees established by the Commissioner provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
The following are the maximum fees that debt negotiators may charge for their services:

Initial Fee:
A debt negotiator of unsecured debt may charge the debtor a reasonable one-time initial or set-up fee in an amount not to exceed fifty dollars ($50).

Service Fees:
A debt negotiator of unsecured debt may charge a monthly service fee not to exceed eight dollars ($8) for each creditor that is listed in the debt negotiation service contract. The total service fee charged to a debtor may not exceed forty dollars ($40) per month.

Aggregate Fees:
A debt negotiator of unsecured debt may collect total aggregate fees including the initial fee and service fees, not to exceed ten percent (10% ) of the amount by which the consumer’s debt is reduced as part of each settlement as agreed to in the debt negotiation service contract as each settlement is achieved. A debt negotiator may not charge more than ten percent (10%) of the amount by which the consumer’s debt is reduced on the basis that the consumer has entered into a debt negotiation contract for joint obligations of a consumer and a consumer’s spouse or other member of the consumer’s household.

  1. Respondent’s offering to engage in debt negotiation in this state without obtaining the required license, as more fully described in paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Matters Asserted, constitutes a violation of Section 36a-671(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes. Such violation forms the basis to issue an order to cease and desist pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes and impose a civil penalty pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2010 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 Respondent in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation. The Commissioner intends to impose a maximum civil penalty upon Respondent not to exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000), subject to its right to a hearing on the allegations set forth above.
  2. Respondent’s engaging in debt negotiation in this state without obtaining the required license, as more fully described in paragraphs 2 to 33, inclusive, of the Matters Asserted constitutes a violation of Section 36a-671(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes. Such violation forms the basis to issue an order to cease and desist pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes and impose a civil penalty pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2010 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 Respondent in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation. The Commissioner intends to impose a maximum civil penalty upon Respondent not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000), subject to its right to a hearing on the allegations set forth above.
  3. Respondent’s entering into a service contract with Resident 2 that did not comport with the requirements of Section 36a-671b(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes and the schedule of maximum fees established by the Commissioner pursuant to said section, as more fully described in paragraphs 11 and 12 of the Matters Asserted, constitutes a violation of Section 36a-671b(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes. Such violation forms the basis to issue an order to cease and desist pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes and impose a civil penalty pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2010 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 Respondent in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation. The Commissioner intends to impose a maximum civil penalty upon Respondent not to exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000), subject to its right to a hearing on the allegations set forth above.
  4. Respondent’s engaging in debt negotiation services on and after October 1, 2009 with two hundred seventy-four (274) debtors and collecting fees under terms which did not comply with Section 36a-671b(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes and the schedule of maximum fees established by the Commissioner pursuant to said section, all as more fully described in paragraphs 16 to 32, inclusive, of the Matters Asserted, constitutes 274 violations of Section 36a-671b of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes. Such violations form the basis to issue an order to cease and desist pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes and impose a civil penalty pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2010 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 Respondent in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation. The Commissioner intends to impose a maximum civil penalty upon Respondent not to exceed Two Million Seven Hundred Forty Thousand Dollars ($2,740,000), subject to its right to a hearing on the allegations set forth above.
  5. Respondent’s statements made in connection with its Application that it had only three (3) contractual relationships with Connecticut consumers entered into after October 1, 2009, as more fully described in paragraph 14 of the Matters Asserted, when in fact there were ninety-five (95) contractual relationships as of the date of Respondent’s Application, as more fully described in paragraphs 15 and 29 of the Matters Asserted, constitute statements made in a document filed with the Commissioner which 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. Such violation forms the basis to issue an order to cease and desist pursuant to Section 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes and impose a 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 Respondent in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation. The Commissioner intends to impose a maximum civil penalty upon Respondent not to exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000), subject to its right to a hearing on the allegations set forth above.
  6. Respondent’s statements made in connection with its Application that it had only eleven (11) contractual relationships with Connecticut consumers entered into before October 1, 2009, and on-going as of the date of Respondent’s Application, as more fully described in paragraphs 16 and 17 of the Matters Asserted, when in fact there were one hundred ten (110) contractual relationships as of the date of Respondent’s Application, as more fully described in paragraphs 18 and 28 of the Matters Asserted, constitute statements made in a document filed with the Commissioner which 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. Such violation forms the basis to issue an order to cease and desist pursuant to Section 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes and impose a 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 Respondent in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation. The Commissioner intends to impose a maximum civil penalty upon Respondent not to exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000), subject to its right to a hearing on the allegations set forth above.

IV. FINDING AND STATUTORY BASIS FOR
TEMPORARY ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST

The Commissioner finds that public welfare requires immediate action to issue a temporary order requiring Respondent to cease and desist from engaging in or offering to engage in debt negotiation in this state in violation of Section 36a-671(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes, to cease and desist from collecting fees in violation of 36a-671b(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes, to cease and desist from violating Section 36a-53a, and to take such other action as set forth herein to effectuate the purposes of Section 36a-52(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes. Specifically, a significant number of Connecticut residents, who are already in debt, are being materially prejudiced, and future Connecticut debtors who may do business with Respondent require protection where Respondent: (a) continues to offer and to engage in debt negotiation without required licensure and did so in at least one hundred instances after being advised by the Division to cease and desist from such activity until the required license had been procured; (b) has collected and is believed still to be collecting fees that violate Connecticut law in connection with such unlicensed activity; and (c) has filed statements with the Commissioner that are false or misleading in a material respect with regard to the scope of its debt negotiation activity with Connecticut consumers.

V. 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

WHEREAS, the Commissioner has reason to believe that Respondent has engaged in acts or conduct which forms the basis to issue an order to cease and desist pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-52(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes and impose a civil penalty pursuant to Section 36a-671a(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes;

AND WHEREAS, the Commissioner has made the finding required under Section 36a-52(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes.

THE COMMISSIONER THEREFORE ORDERS, pursuant to Section 36a-52(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes, that JHass, L.L.C. a/k/a J. Hass Group, LLC immediately CEASE AND DESIST from violating Sections 36a-671(b) and 36a-671b(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-53a of the Connecticut General Statutes. This Temporary Order shall become effective upon receipt by JHass, L.L.C. a/k/a J. Hass Group, LLC, and, unless set aside or modified by a court, shall remain in effect until the effective date of a permanent order or dismissal of the matters asserted in this Temporary Order.

THE COMMISSIONER FURTHER ORDERS, pursuant to Section 36a-52(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes, that:

Not later than 10 days from receipt of this 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, Respondent shall provide to Marlene M. Mannix, Director, Consumer Credit Division, Department of Banking, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut 06103-1800, or [email protected], a list of all Connecticut residents with whom it has entered into contracts for debt negotiation services to date where such contracts were either: (a) entered before October 1, 2009 but were in effect on or after October 1, 2009; or (b) entered into on and after October 1, 2009. Such submission shall include:

1. A copy of each contract pursuant to which Respondent is providing such debt negotiation services; and

2. Each debtor’s name and address, and full history of each debtor’s account, specifying the dates and amounts disbursed: (a) to Respondent, (b) to any TPSP, (c) into escrow to be disbursed at a later date, (d) to creditors on accounts, (e) to the debtor; and (f) to any other entity or party.

FURTHER, notice is hereby given to Respondent that the Commissioner intends to issue an order requiring Respondent to CEASE AND DESIST from violating Sections 36a-671(b) and 36a-671b(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-53a of the Connecticut General Statutes and impose a CIVIL PENALTY upon Respondent as set forth herein, or in any amendment to this 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, and subject to Respondent’s right to a hearing on the allegations set forth herein or in any amendment to this 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.

A hearing will be granted to 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 its receipt of this 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 as set forth in Sections 36a-52(a) and 36a-50(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes. This 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 shall be deemed received on the earlier of the date of actual receipt, or seven days after mailing or sending. The enclosed Appearance and Request for Hearing Form must be completed and mailed to the above address. If 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 January 5, 2011, 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 Respondent fails to appear at the requested hearing. At such hearing, 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 Respondent does not request a hearing within the time prescribed, the Commissioner will issue an order that Respondent cease and desist from violating Sections 36a-671(b) and 36a-671b(b) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes and Section 36a-53a of the Connecticut General Statutes, and may order that the maximum penalty of Two Million Eight Hundred Eighty Thousand Dollars ($2,880,000) be imposed upon Respondent.

So ordered at Hartford, Connecticut
this 5th day of November 2010. ________/s/_________
Howard F. Pitkin
Banking Commissioner

CERTIFICATION

I hereby certify that on this 5th day of November 2010, the foregoing 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 was sent by registered mail, return receipt requested, to JHass Group, L.L.C. a/k/a J. Hass Group, LLC, 7590 E. Gray Road, # 204, Scottsdale, Arizona 85260, registered mail no. RB028037218US; and to its agents, Jason Hass, 7590 E. Gray Road, #204, Scottsdale, Arizona 85260, registered mail no. RB028037221US; and National Registered Agents, Inc., 12 Old Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook, Connecticut 06457, registered mail no. RB028037235US; and to Respondent via facsimile to (877) 572-5050. – Source

________/s/_________
Stacey Valerio
Prosecuting Attorney

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State Banking Commissioner Pitkin Issues Temporary Order to Cease and Desist Against JHASS Group, L.L.C. A/K/A J. Hass Group, LLC by

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Steve Rhode

    I would immediately start following this process, all of it.

    It might take up to and including filing an action against them in small claims court.

    Keep me posted.

  • Judy

    Thank you Steve, I’ve just called the SCC here in Virginia and sure JHass don’t have license here . Just like othere here in your forum Im trying to get my money /refund from Jhass. I’ve sent them a certify letter requesting refund of $ 3,182.51. I got a nasty relied from one of the personnel from Jhass by the name of Sharon L.Kuller refusing to refund my money . Like other I was enrolled in thier scam program to debt free in a period of time. Come to find out they are taking funds every month as advance fee for the services that was never render. Jhass promised that they will negotiate thru my credit instition. Same story I read in your forum they took my money and never take action on my account.
    The total amount paid on my account ( for 8months- $668.38 monthly ) is $5,346.48. When I found out that we are bing sued and non of the crdit instution was being contacted by Jhass I immediately stop the payment debetting from my account and immediately request to refund the remainig fund to me. They did refund $1,771.97 when I told them that BOA just came a settlement of &1700 in just five minutes phone call to BOA representative. Now Jhass claiming that the reason t BOA gave me a settlement because of the letter Jhass ( Power of Attorney) to them. This is not true I call all my creditors and ask them if Jhass ever call them or send them a letter that I was in thier debt settlement program. I found out that none of my creditor was aware not contact by Jhass. Now Jhass Grp is keeping $3,574.51 this includes $392 ($49 monthy fees)
    Also on the last paragraph that Ms Sharon ‘s sent me she stated ” The total amount you paid into the program is $5,346.48 . Our fee for settlement is $2,887.36, Further , there was a $49.00 per month maintenance fee ( oitlined in your contract documents), Therefore, it appears you actually owe HHG fee in the amount of $1,404.85. Alhough we certainly have cause action against you for breach of contract, we will not pursue payment of $1,404.85 in return that no further action will be taken by you as outlined in your email and letter.
    How can Jhass take my money if they never done or negotiate my credit card account. I don’t believe that I breach my contract to them I have right to cancel my obligation to them anytime I want to. Please help me how can I get my money back from Jhass. If you can forward this email to Mr Jeremy Hass to comment on this issue. I been reading alot about this comapany . This company is a nightmare. Thank you . If you need my email please let me know.

    thank you

  • Steve Rhode

    Call the state department responsible at 804-371-9701.

  • Bebe

    Steve How I can find out if Jhass has a license in Virginia to engage in debt negotiation.

    Thank you

  • Bebe

    Steve How I can find out if Jhass has a license in Virginia to engage in debt negotiation.

    Thank you

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Call the state department responsible at 804-371-9701.

      • Judy

        Thank you Steve, I’ve just called the SCC here in Virginia and sure JHass don’t have license here . Just like othere here in your forum Im trying to get my money /refund from Jhass. I’ve sent them a certify letter requesting refund of $ 3,182.51. I got a nasty relied from one of the personnel from Jhass by the name of Sharon L.Kuller refusing to refund my money . Like other I was enrolled in thier scam program to debt free in a period of time. Come to find out they are taking funds every month as advance fee for the services that was never render. Jhass promised that they will negotiate thru my credit instition. Same story I read in your forum they took my money and never take action on my account.
        The total amount paid on my account ( for 8months- $668.38 monthly ) is $5,346.48. When I found out that we are bing sued and non of the crdit instution was being contacted by Jhass I immediately stop the payment debetting from my account and immediately request to refund the remainig fund to me. They did refund $1,771.97 when I told them that BOA just came a settlement of &1700 in just five minutes phone call to BOA representative. Now Jhass claiming that the reason t BOA gave me a settlement because of the letter Jhass ( Power of Attorney) to them. This is not true I call all my creditors and ask them if Jhass ever call them or send them a letter that I was in thier debt settlement program. I found out that none of my creditor was aware not contact by Jhass. Now Jhass Grp is keeping $3,574.51 this includes $392 ($49 monthy fees)
        Also on the last paragraph that Ms Sharon ‘s sent me she stated ” The total amount you paid into the program is $5,346.48 . Our fee for settlement is $2,887.36, Further , there was a $49.00 per month maintenance fee ( oitlined in your contract documents), Therefore, it appears you actually owe HHG fee in the amount of $1,404.85. Alhough we certainly have cause action against you for breach of contract, we will not pursue payment of $1,404.85 in return that no further action will be taken by you as outlined in your email and letter.
        How can Jhass take my money if they never done or negotiate my credit card account. I don’t believe that I breach my contract to them I have right to cancel my obligation to them anytime I want to. Please help me how can I get my money back from Jhass. If you can forward this email to Mr Jeremy Hass to comment on this issue. I been reading alot about this comapany . This company is a nightmare. Thank you . If you need my email please let me know.

        thank you

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        I would immediately start following this process, all of it.

        It might take up to and including filing an action against them in small claims court.

        Keep me posted.

  • Steve Rhode

    Yes.

  • ComplianceSlave

    I sincerely hope Hass pays the fines & the clients hurt by them receive money back. Didnt Hass become Fingo?

  • http://www.ftc.gov ComplianceSlave

    I sincerely hope Hass pays the fines & the clients hurt by them receive money back. Didnt Hass become Fingo?

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Yes.

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