By the Division of Banks

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS

Suffolk, SS.

COMMISSIONER OF BANKS
CHECK CASHER LICENSING
Docket No. 2009-014

FINDINGS OF FACT AND
ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST


In the Matter of
NIKKI NGUYEN a/k/a NIKKI H. BUI,
TRACY BUI AND RAMOS NEIGHBORHOOD MARKET, LLC
Worcester, Massachusetts


The Commissioner of Banks ("Commissioner") having determined that NIKKI NGUYEN a/k/a NIKKI H. BUI, TRACY BUI and RAMOS NEIGHBORHOOD MARKET, LLC located at 6A Boylston Street, Worcester, Massachusetts have engaged, or are engaged in, or are about to engage in, acts or practices constituting violations of Massachusetts General Laws chapter 169A and its implementing regulations at 209 CMR 45.00 et seq., hereby issues the following ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST pursuant to chapter 169A.

FINDINGS OF FACT

A. Unlicensed Check Cashing Activity

  1. The Division of Banks (the "Division"), through the Commissioner, has jurisdiction over the licensing and regulation of persons and entities engaged in the business of a check casher in Massachusetts pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws 169A.
  2. Nikki Nguyen a/k/a Nikki H. Bui and Tracy Bui individually and collectively, are the owners/officers of Ramos Neighborhood Market, LLC ("Ramos Market" or the "Corporation"), located at 6A Boylston Street, Worcester, Massachusetts.
  3. Massachusetts General Laws chapter 169A, section 2 relative to the licensing requirements for entities engaged in the business of check cashing states:

    No person or entity shall engage in cashing checks, drafts or money orders for a consideration in excess of one dollar per item without first obtaining a license from the commissioner...The commissioner shall establish rules and regulations, which may include an adequate capitalization requirement, for each place of business or mobile unit of a licensee to aid in the administration and enforcement of this chapter.

  4. Massachusetts General Laws chapter 169A, section 13 states:

    Whoever violates any provision of section two or any rule or regulation made thereunder by the commissioner shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or both. Each day a violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense.

  5. On May 4, 2009, during an examination/inspection of an entity licensed as a check casher with the Division, the Division's examiners became aware that Nikki Nguyen a/k/a Nikki H. Bui, Tracy Bui and Ramos Market appeared to be engaging in unlicensed check cashing activity at 6A Boylston Street, Worcester, Massachusetts ("Worcester location").
  6. Based upon a review of the information obtained during the examination/inspection referenced in the Paragraph 5 of this Temporary Order, the Division's examiners conducted a visitation of the Worcester location ("Visitation") on May 5, 2009 to confirm that Nikki Nguyen a/k/a Nikki H. Bui, Tracy Bui and Ramos Market were engaging in cashing checking activity, from the Worcester location.
  7. On May 5, 2009, the Division's examiners determined during the Visitation and interviews conducted with Nikki Nguyen a/k/a Nikki H. Bui via teleconference and Tracy Bui at the Worcester location, that unlicensed check cashing activity was being conducted. During the teleconference with Nikki Nguyen a/k/a Nikki H. Bui, she acknowledged that checks were being cashed at the Worcester location.
  8. On May 7, 2009, the Division's examiners conducted another Visitation of the Worcester location. During the May 7, 2009 Visitation, Nikki Nguyen a/k/a Nikki H. Bui provided the Division's examiners a signed statement acknowledging that unlicensed check cashing activity was being conducted from the Worcester location ("Statement").
  9. The Statement signed by Nikki Nguyen a/k/a Nikki H. Bui indicated that the Corporation charged consumers $1.00 for cashing checks less than or equal to $1,000, and a fee of 0.75% of the total check amount for those checks in excess of $1,000.
  10. The Statement also indicated that on a weekly basis, Ramos Market would cash third party checks of approximately fourteen thousand ($14,000) dollars. Those checks that were less than one thousand ($1,000) dollars would be deposited into a bank account maintained by the Corporation, and all checks in excess of $1,000 would be cashed by Nikki Nguyen a/k/a Nikki H. Bui or a representative of Ramos Market at a licensed check casher.
  11. The Statement further revealed that in 2006 Nikki Nguyen a/k/a Nikki H. Bui had requested information from the Division about the check casher licensing process and an application ultimately was not filed because in accordance with her Statement, the"process was too difficult."
  12. The Division has reason to believe that Nikki Nguyen a/k/a Nikki H. Bui, Tracy Bui and Ramos Market continue to engage in the check cashing activity of at 6A Boylston Street, Worcester, Massachusetts, in violation of General Laws chapter 169A, section 2.
  13. According to the Division's records, as of the date of this Temporary Order, neither Nikki Nguyen a/k/a Nikki H. Bui, Tracy Bui nor Ramos Market have applied or have obtained a license from the Commissioner pursuant to General Laws chapter 169A and the Division's regulation 209 CMR 45.00 et seq., to engage in the activity of a check casher at 6A Boylston Street, Worcester, Massachusetts.

    ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST

    After taking into consideration Paragraphs 2 through 13 herein, it is hereby:

  14. ORDERED that NIKKI NGUYEN a/k/a NIKKI H. BUI, TRACY BUI and RAMOS NEIGHBORHOOD MARKET, LLC shall immediately cease from engaging directly or indirectly in the check cashing business at 6A Boylston Street, Worcester, Massachusetts, and at any other locations in the Commonwealth without first obtaining a license from the Commissioner for such location(s) in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws chapter 169A and the Division's regulation 209 CMR 45.00 et seq.
  15. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that NIKKI NGUYEN a/k/a NIKKI H. BUI, TRACY BUI and RAMOS NEIGHBORHOOD MARKET, LLC shall, within ten (10) days of the effective date of this ORDER, provide the Division with a complete record of all checks cashed, including the dollar amount of the checks cashed and the fees charged by the Corporation to consumers during the period from July 10, 2007 through the effective date of this ORDER.
  16. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that NIKKI NGUYEN a/k/a NIKKI H. BUI, TRACY BUI and RAMOS NEIGHBORHOOD MARKET, LLC, shall, within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this ORDER, reimburse fees to all persons for whom a fee in excess of one dollar was charged by the Corporation for checks cashed between July 10, 2007 and the effective date of this ORDER. Reimbursements shall be made to each person on a per transaction basis in an amount equal to the entire portion of the check cashing fee charged by the Corporation for such transaction. A record shall be provided to the Division of the names and addresses of all individuals who have cashed checks with the Corporation, the amount of each transaction, the total fees charged on each transaction, check numbers of payments issued by the Corporation to evidence reimbursements made to consumers, and the amount reimbursed to each individual.


BY ORDER AND DIRECTION OF THE COMMISSIONER OF BANKS.

Dated at Boston, Massachusetts, this 21th day of May, 2009

By: Steven L. Antonakes
Commissioner of Banks
Commonwealth of Massachusetts