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The Commissioner of Banks (Commissioner) having determined that AAA PLUS CHECK CASHING, LLC, (AAA Plus or the Company) located at 360 Salem Street, Medford, Massachusetts, MARY E. DONALD (Mary Donald) and ELLIOTT O. MAY (Elliott May) have engaged in, or are engaged in, or are about to engage in, acts or practices constituting violations of Massachusetts General Laws chapter 169A, and applicable regulations found at 209 CMR 45.00 et seq., hereby issues the following FINDINGS OF FACT AND TEMPORARY ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST (Temporary Order) pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws chapter 169A, section 9(b).
A. Failure to Demonstrate the Financial Responsibility, Character, Reputation, Integrity and General Fitness to Maintain a Check Casher License
Character and Fitness. An Applicant shall submit information demonstrating that the Applicant:
(2) (a) The Commissioner may deny an application to engage in the business of check cashing, if the Commissioner upon review of the application and other relevant information, determines that the Applicant has not satisfied the requirements of M.G.L. c. 169A or 209 CMR 45.04.
(b) The Commissioner may also deny such an application or the renewal thereof if the Applicant has:
i. Failure to Maintain Minimum Net Worth Requirements
An Applicant shall demonstrate and provide the Commissioner with evidence of its financial responsibility and submit a sworn statement which states that the Applicant meets the following requirements. An Applicant shall demonstrate and maintain a net worth of not less than $25,000 and maintain adequate liquidity for the nature and volume of the Applicant's business.
ii. Failure to Maintain Adequate Liquidity
Grounds for license revocation under M.G.L. c. 169A, § 8 and the issuance of cease and desist orders under M.G.L. c. 169A, § 9 shall include, but are not limited to, the following prohibited acts and practices by Licensees:
(7) failing to maintain adequate liquidity for the nature and volume of the Licensee's business.
iii. Failure to Provide Audited Financial Statements
An Applicant for a license shall submit financial statements audited by an independent certified public accountant within 120 days of the close of its fiscal year. If audited financial statements were not prepared, an Applicant shall submit financial statements reviewed by an independent certified public accountant within 120 days of the close of its fiscal year.
B. Unlicensed Check Cashing Activity
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.
No person or entity shall engage in cashing checks, drafts or money orders for a consideration in excess of $1.00 per item without first obtaining a license from the Commissioner.
C. Failure to File Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs).
Each financial institution other than a casino shall file a report of each deposit, withdrawal, exchange of currency or other payment or transfer, by, through, or to such financial institution which involves a transaction in currency of more than $10,000.
A report required by §1010.311 or §1021.311, shall be filed by the financial institution within 15 days following the day on which the reportable transaction occurred.
D. Failure to Develop, Implement and Maintain an Effective Anti-Money Laundering Program
(a) Each money services business . . . shall develop, implement and maintain an effective anti-money laundering program . . . . that is reasonably designed to prevent the money services business from being used to facilitate money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities.
(b) The program shall be commensurate with the risks posed by the location and size of, and the nature and volume of the financial services provided by, the money services business.
i. Policies, Procedures and Internal Controls
Failure to Comply with Written Policies and Procedures
ii. Designated Compliance Officer
[The money services business’ anti-money laundering program shall] [d]esignate a person to assure day to day compliance with the program and this part. The responsibilities of such person shall include assuring that: (i) The money services business properly files reports, and creates and retains records, in accordance with applicable requirements of this part; (ii) The compliance program is updated as necessary to reflect current requirements of this part, and related guidance issued by the Department of the Treasury; and (iii) The money services business provides appropriate training and education in accordance with paragraph (d)(3) of this section.
iii. Education and Training
[The money services business’ anti-money laundering program shall] [p]rovide education and/or training of appropriate personnel concerning their responsibilities under the program, including training in the detection of suspicious transactions to the extent that the money services business is required to report such transactions under this part.
iv. Independent Review
[The money services business’ anti-money laundering program shall] [p]rovide for independent review to monitor and maintain an adequate program. The scope and frequency of the review shall be commensurate with the risk of the financial services provided by the money services business. Such review may be conducted by an officer or employee of the money services business so long as the reviewer is not the person designated in paragraph (d)(2) of this section.
E. Failure to Notify the Division of a Significant Event
30 days prior to any proposed change in control occurs in the ownership of a Licensee, or among the officers, partners or directors of a Licensee, a notice shall forthwith be filed with the Commissioner who may thereupon cause such investigation to be made as he deems necessary, as if it were a new license.
F. Failure to Maintain Adequate Books and Records.
Each Licensee shall keep and use within the Commonwealth its books, records and accounts in a manner which will allow the Commissioner to determine whether the Licensee is complying with the provisions of M.G.L. c. 169A and 209 CMR 45.00 and applicable state and federal laws and regulations.
G. Failure to Disclose License Type and Number
A Licensee shall disclose the type and number of its license(s) to all patrons as required under M.G.L. c. 169A and 209 CMR 45.00. A Licensee shall also disclose the type and number of its license(s) in all advertisements used in the Commonwealth which advertise or refer to the licensee's business of cashing of checks, drafts or money orders.
(3) failing to disclose the type and number of its license(s) in all advertisements.
H. Failure to Disclose Appropriate Fees
(9) accepting any fees or charges which were not disclosed in accordance with M.G.L. c. 169A or 209 CMR 45.00.
I. Other Violations
After taking into consideration the FINDINGS OF FACT and CONCLUSIONS OF LAW stated herein, it is hereby:
BY ORDER AND DIRECTION OF THE COMMISSIONER OF BANKS.
Dated at Boston, Massachusetts, this 15th day of July, 2014
David J. Cotney
Commissioner of Banks
Commonwealth of Massachusetts