By the Division of Banks
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
COMMISSIONER OF BANKS
CHECK CASHER LICENSING
In the Matter of
LUIS A. VENTURA, Individually
The Commissioner of Banks (Commissioner) is charged with the administration of Massachusetts General Laws chapter 169A and its implementing regulation 209 CMR 45.00 et seq. governing the licensing and supervision of check cashers. Pursuant to the authority granted by Massachusetts General Laws chapter 169A, the Commissioner has investigated the activities of Millenium Communications (Millenium Communications or the Business) with an address of 147 Main Street, Marlborough, Massachusetts, and Luis A. Ventura to determine if Millenium Communications and Luis A. Ventura, have engaged in the business of, and/or are continuing to engage in, acts or practices constituting violations of Massachusetts General Laws chapter 169A. Based upon such investigation, the Division of Banks (Division) hereby issues the following CEASE DIRECTIVE (Directive) as a result of the findings alleged herein.
|A. FINDINGS OF FACT|
- The Division, through the Commissioner has jurisdiction over the licensing and regulation of persons and entities engaged in the business of cashing checks in Massachusetts pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws chapter 169A, section 2.
- Luis A. Ventura is, and at all relevant times has been the sole owner of Millenium Communications located at 147 Main Street, Marlborough, Massachusetts.
- Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 169A, section 2, relative to the licensing requirements for entities engaged in check cashing states, in part: 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.
- Massachusetts General Laws chapter 169A, section 13, states, in part: 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.
- On or about October 5, 2010, the Division issued a Cease Letter to Millenium Communications ordering the Business to cease engaging in unlicensed check cashing activity and required Millenium Communications and Luis A. Ventura as the owner of the Business to complete an affidavit attesting that no business entity owned operated or controlled by Luis A. Ventura would operate as a check cashier prior to obtaining a license.
- On October 13, 2010, the Division received the affidavit signed by Luis A. Ventura as the owner of Millenium Communications, certifying that the Business had ceased operating as a check casher. Luis A. Ventura further certified that no business entity owned operated or controlled by Luis Ventura would begin operating as a check cashier prior to obtaining a license.
- On or about December 3, 2012, the Division became aware that Millenium Communications and Luis A. Ventura were engaged check cashing activity in violation of Massachusetts General Laws chapter 169A, section 2 and operating a check cashing business from the Marlborough, Massachusetts location.
- The Division's review of an incident report filed by Luis A. Ventura with the Marlborough, Massachusetts Police Department indicates that on or about March 8, 2012, Millenium Communications cashed a check that was presented to Millenium Communications by an individual in the amount of $1,117.75. The incident report further indicates that the check was returned to Millenium Communications because the account it was drawn on had been closed.
- The Division's review of a second incident report filed by Luis A. Ventura with the Marlborough Police Department, indicates that on or about September 5, 2012, three checks totaling $975.95 cashed by an employee of Millenium Communications were later determined to be counterfeit and/or forged. The incident report stated that Luis A. Ventura "ran a check cashing business out of his store."
- The Division has reason to believe that Millenium Communications and Luis A. Ventura continue to engage in check cashing activity at 147 Main Street, Marlborough, Massachusetts, in violation of General Laws chapter 169A, section 2.
- According to the Division's records, as of the date of this Directive, Millenium Communications has not filed an application with the Division to obtain a check casher license.
- According to the Division's records, as of the date of this Directive Luis A. Ventura has not filed an application with the Division to obtain a check casher license.
B. CEASE DIRECTIVE
- Millenium Communications and Luis A. Ventura shall immediately cease from engaging directly or indirectly in cashing checks and/or operating a check cashing business at 146 Main Street, Marlborough, 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.
- Millenium Communications and Luis A. Ventura shall within ten (10) days of the effective date of this Directive 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 Business to consumers during the period from October 13, 2010 through the effective date of this Directive.
- Millenium Communications and Luis A. Ventura shall, within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Directive, reimburse fees to all persons for whom a fee in excess of one dollar was charged by Millenium Communications for checks cashed between October 13, 2010 and the effective date of this Directive. 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 Millenium Communications for such transaction. A record shall be provided to the Division of the names and addresses of all individuals who have cashed checks with Millenium Communications, the amount of each transaction, the total fees charged on each transaction, check numbers of payments issued by Millenium Communications to evidence reimbursements made to consumers, and the amount reimbursed to each individual.
- Millenium Communications must submit a response within five (5) days of receipt of this Directive. The response submitted by Millenium Communications must also include a signed copy of the enclosed affidavit, attesting that Millenium Communications will immediately cease from engaging in the business of a check casher in Massachusetts.
BY ORDER AND DIRECTION OF THE COMMISSIONER OF BANKS.
Dated at Boston, Massachusetts, this 7th day of January 2013.
David J. Cotney
Commissioner of Banks
Commonwealth of Massachusetts