Section 493.6118, Florida Statutes 2009
493.6118 Grounds for disciplinary action.--
(1) The following constitute grounds for which disciplinary action specified in subsection (2) may be taken by the department against any licensee, agency, or applicant regulated by this chapter, or any unlicensed person engaged in activities regulated under this chapter.
(a) Fraud or willful misrepresentation in applying for or obtaining a license.
(b) Use of any fictitious or assumed name by an agency unless the agency has department approval and qualifies under s. 865.09.
(c) Being found guilty of or entering a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, or being convicted of a crime that directly relates to the business for which the license is held or sought. A plea of nolo contendere shall create a rebuttable presumption of guilt to the underlying criminal charges, and the department shall allow the individual being disciplined or denied an application for a license to present any mitigating circumstances surrounding his or her plea.
(d) A false statement by the licensee that any individual is or has been in his or her employ.
(e) A finding that the licensee or any employee is guilty of willful betrayal of a professional secret or any unauthorized release of information acquired as a result of activities regulated under this chapter.
(f) Proof that the applicant or licensee is guilty of fraud or deceit, or of negligence, incompetency, or misconduct, in the practice of the activities regulated under this chapter.
(g) Conducting activities regulated under this chapter without a license or with a revoked or suspended license.
(h) Failure of the licensee to maintain in full force and effect the commercial general liability insurance coverage required by s. 493.6110.
(i) Impersonating, or permitting or aiding and abetting an employee to impersonate, a law enforcement officer or an employee of the state, the United States, or any political subdivision thereof by identifying himself or herself as a federal, state, county, or municipal law enforcement officer or official representative, by wearing a uniform or presenting or displaying a badge or credentials that would cause a reasonable person to believe that he or she is a law enforcement officer or that he or she has official authority, by displaying any flashing or warning vehicular lights other than amber colored, or by committing any act that is intended to falsely convey official status.
(j) Commission of an act of violence or the use of force on any person except in the lawful protection of one's self or another from physical harm.
(k) Knowingly violating, advising, encouraging, or assisting the violation of any statute, court order, capias, warrant, injunction, or cease and desist order, in the course of business regulated under this chapter.
(l) Soliciting business for an attorney in return for compensation.
(m) Transferring or attempting to transfer a license issued pursuant to this chapter.
(n) Employing or contracting with any unlicensed or improperly licensed person or agency to conduct activities regulated under this chapter, or performing any act that assists, aids, or abets a person or business entity in engaging in unlicensed activity, when the licensure status was known or could have been ascertained by reasonable inquiry.
(o) Failure or refusal to cooperate with or refusal of access to an authorized representative of the department engaged in an official investigation pursuant to this chapter.
(p) Failure of any partner, principal corporate officer, or licensee to have his or her identification card in his or her possession while on duty.
(q) Failure of any licensee to have his or her license in his or her possession while on duty, as specified in s. 493.6111(1).
(r) Failure or refusal by a sponsor to certify a biannual written report on an intern or to certify completion or termination of an internship to the department within 15 working days.
(s) Failure to report to the department any person whom the licensee knows to be in violation of this chapter or the rules of the department.
(t) Violating any provision of this chapter.
(u) In addition to the grounds for disciplinary action prescribed in paragraphs (a)-(t), Class "R" recovery agencies, Class "E" recovery agents, and Class "EE" recovery agent interns are prohibited from committing the following acts:
1. Recovering a motor vehicle, mobile home, motorboat, aircraft, personal watercraft, all-terrain vehicle, farm equipment, or industrial equipment that has been sold under a conditional sales agreement or under the terms of a chattel mortgage before authorization has been received from the legal owner or mortgagee.
2. Charging for expenses not actually incurred in connection with the recovery, transportation, storage, or disposal of repossessed property or personal property obtained in a repossession.
3. Using any repossessed property or personal property obtained in a repossession for the personal benefit of a licensee or an officer, director, partner, manager, or employee of a licensee.
4. Selling property recovered under the provisions of this chapter, except with written authorization from the legal owner or the mortgagee thereof.
5. Failing to notify the police or sheriff's department of the jurisdiction in which the repossessed property is recovered within 2 hours after recovery.
6. Failing to remit moneys collected in lieu of recovery of a motor vehicle, mobile home, motorboat, aircraft, personal watercraft, all-terrain vehicle, farm equipment, or industrial equipment to the client within 10 working days.
7. Failing to deliver to the client a negotiable instrument that is payable to the client, within 10 working days after receipt of such instrument.
8. Falsifying, altering, or failing to maintain any required inventory or records regarding disposal of personal property contained in or on repossessed property pursuant to s. 493.6404(1).
9. Carrying any weapon or firearm when he or she is on private property and performing duties under his or her license whether or not he or she is licensed pursuant to s. 790.06.
10. Soliciting from the legal owner the recovery of property subject to repossession after such property has been seen or located on public or private property if the amount charged or requested for such recovery is more than the amount normally charged for such a recovery.
11. Wearing, presenting, or displaying a badge in the course of performing a repossession regulated by this chapter.
(2) When the department finds any violation of subsection (1), it may do one or more of the following:
(a) Deny an application for the issuance or renewal of a license.
(b) Issue a reprimand.
(c) Impose an administrative fine not to exceed $1,000 for every count or separate offense.
(d) Place the licensee on probation for a period of time and subject to such conditions as the department may specify.
(e) Suspend or revoke a license.
(3) The department may deny an application for licensure citing lack of good moral character only if the finding by the department of lack of good moral character is supported by clear and convincing evidence. In such cases, the department shall furnish the applicant a statement containing the findings of the department, a complete record of the evidence upon which the determination was based, and a notice of the rights of the applicant to an administrative hearing and subsequent appeal.
(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1)(c) and subsection (2):
(a) If the applicant or licensee has been convicted of a felony, the department shall deny the application or revoke the license unless and until civil rights have been restored by the State of Florida or by a state acceptable to Florida and a period of 10 years has expired since final release from supervision.
(b) A Class "G" applicant who has been convicted of a felony shall also have had the specific right to possess, carry, or use a firearm restored by the State of Florida.
(c) If the applicant or licensee has been found guilty of, entered a plea of guilty to, or entered a plea of nolo contendere to a felony and adjudication of guilt is withheld, the department shall deny the application or revoke the license until a period of 3 years has expired since final release from supervision.
(d) A plea of nolo contendere shall create a rebuttable presumption of guilt to the underlying criminal charges, and the department shall allow the person being disciplined or denied an application for a license to present any mitigating circumstances surrounding his or her plea.
(e) The grounds for discipline or denial cited in this subsection shall be applied to any disqualifying criminal history regardless of the date of commission of the underlying criminal charge. Such provisions shall be applied retroactively and prospectively.
(5) Upon revocation or suspension of a license, the licensee shall forthwith return the license which was suspended or revoked.
(6) The agency license and the approval or license of each officer, partner, or owner of the agency are automatically suspended upon entry of a final order imposing an administrative fine against the agency, until the fine is paid, if 30 calendar days have elapsed since the entry of the final order. All owners and corporate or agency officers or partners are jointly and severally liable for agency fines. Neither the agency license or the approval or license of any officer, partner, or owner of the agency may be renewed, nor may an application be approved if the owner, licensee, or applicant is liable for an outstanding administrative fine imposed under this chapter. An individual's approval or license becomes automatically suspended if a fine imposed against the individual or his or her agency is not paid within 30 days after the date of the final order, and remains suspended until the fine is paid. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, an individual's approval or license may not be suspended nor may an application be denied when the licensee or the applicant has an appeal from a final order pending in any appellate court.
(7) An applicant or licensee shall be ineligible to reapply for the same class of license for a period of 1 year following final agency action resulting in the denial or revocation of a license applied for or issued under this chapter. This time restriction shall not apply to administrative denials wherein the basis for denial was:
(a) An inadvertent error or omission on the application;
(b) The experience documented by the department was insufficient at the time of application;
(c) The department was unable to complete the criminal background investigation due to insufficient information from the Department of Law Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or any other applicable law enforcement agency; or
(d) Failure to submit required fees.
History.--ss. 2, 11, ch. 90-364; s. 8, ch. 91-248; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 5, ch. 93-49; s. 9, ch. 94-172; s. 534, ch. 97-103; s. 6, ch. 97-248; s. 4, ch. 2005-143.