June 03, 2020
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CS/CS/CS/HB 311

1
A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to debt settlement services; providing a
3directive to the Division of Statutory Revision; creating
4s. 559.101, F.S.; providing a short title; creating s.
5559.102, F.S.; providing definitions; creating s. 559.103,
6F.S.; providing the powers of the Office of Financial
7Regulation; creating s. 559.104, F.S.; authorizing the
8Financial Services Commission to adopt rules; creating s.
9559.105, F.S.; providing exceptions from the applicability
10of provisions regulating debt settlement services;
11providing an exception for attorneys representing clients;
12creating s. 559.106, F.S.; requiring debt settlement
13organizations to be registered with the office; providing
14a registration fee; requiring background screening of
15applicants and control persons; providing grounds for
16registration issuance or denial; requiring annual renewal;
17creating s. 559.107, F.S.; requiring registration renewal;
18creating s. 559.108, F.S.; requiring a debt settlement
19organization to obtain certain insurance coverage and a
20surety bond and to provide proof of such bond to the
21office; creating s. 559.109, F.S.; requiring a debt
22settlement organization to maintain records; creating s.
23559.111, F.S.; requiring a debt settlement organization to
24prepare a financial analysis for the debtor; providing for
25service contracts; requiring certain provisions to be
26included in such contracts; requiring the debt settlement
27organization to provide the debtor with copies of all
28signed documents; creating s. 559.112, F.S.; prohibiting
29certain acts by debt settlement organizations; providing
30penalties; creating s. 559.113, F.S.; providing for debtor
31complaints to the office; providing procedures and office
32duties, including administrative penalties; creating s.
33559.114, F.S.; providing for the issuance of subpoenas by
34the office; creating s. 559.115, F.S.; authorizing the
35office to issue cease and desist orders; creating s.
36559.116, F.S.; declaring that violations of the part are
37deceptive and unfair trade practices; providing
38administrative penalties; specifying violations that
39result in criminal penalties; amending s. 516.07, F.S.;
40conforming a cross-reference; repealing ss. 559.10,
41559.11, 559.12, and 559.13, F.S., relating to budget
42planning; providing an appropriation and authorizing
43additional positions; providing effective dates.
44
45Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
46
47     Section 1.  The Division of Statutory Revision is directed
48to redesignate the title of part II of chapter 559, Florida
49Statutes, consisting of ss. 559.101-559.116, as "Debt Settlement
50Services."
51     Section 2.  Section 559.101, Florida Statutes, is created
52to read:
53     559.101  Short title.-This part may be cited as the "Debt
54Settlement Services Act."
55     Section 3.  Section 559.102, Florida Statutes, is created
56to read:
57     559.102  Definitions.-As used in this part, the term:
58     (1)  "Commission" means the Financial Services Commission.
59     (2)  "Control person" means an individual, partnership,
60corporation, trust, or other organization that possesses the
61power, directly or indirectly, to direct the management or
62policies of a company, whether through ownership of securities,
63by contract, or otherwise. The term includes, but is not limited
64to:
65     (a)  A company's executive officers, including the
66president, chief executive officer, chief financial officer,
67chief operations officer, chief legal officer, chief compliance
68officer, director, or other individuals having similar status or
69functions.
70     (b)  For a corporation, each shareholder who, directly or
71indirectly, owns 10 percent or more, or who has the power to
72vote 10 percent or more, of a class of voting securities, unless
73the applicant is a publicly traded company.
74     (c)  For a partnership, all general partners and limited or
75special partners who have contributed 10 percent or more, or who
76have the right to receive upon dissolution 10 percent or more,
77of the partnership's capital.
78     (d)  For a trust, each trustee.
79     (e)  For a limited liability company, all managing members
80and those members who have contributed 10 percent or more, or
81who have the right to receive upon dissolution 10 percent or
82more, of the partnership's capital.
83     (3)  "Debt settlement organization " means a person who
84provides or offers to provide debt settlement services for
85compensation.
86     (4)  "Debt settlement services" means services, other than
87foreclosure-related rescue services, provided to a debtor with
88the expectation of obtaining the creditor's agreement to accept
89less than the principal amount of a debt in full satisfaction of
90the debt.
91     (5)  "Debtor" means an individual who obtains credit, seeks
92a credit agreement with a creditor, or owes money to a creditor.
93     (6)  "Enrolled debt" means the amount of debt at the time
94the contract for debt settlement services is entered but does
95not include any increases in the amount of debt or additional
96fees or penalties applied to the debt after services included in
97the contract are initiated.
98     (7)  "Financial analysis" means the review of an
99individual's budget, income, expenses, and debt by the debt
100settlement organization in order to determine the individual's
101suitability for additional debt settlement services provided by
102the organization.
103     (8)  "Office" means the Office of Financial Regulation of
104the Financial Services Commission.
105     (9)  "Person" has the same meaning as provided in s. 1.01.
106     (10)  "Service contract" means the agreement for services
107between a debt settlement organization and a debtor.
108     Section 4.  Section 559.103, Florida Statutes, is created
109to read:
110     559.103  Powers and duties of the Office of Financial
111Regulation; fees.-
112     (1)  The office is responsible for the administration and
113enforcement of this part.
114     (2)  The office may conduct an investigation of any person
115if the office has reason to believe, upon complaint or
116otherwise, that any violation of this part may have been
117committed or is about to be committed.
118     (3)  All fees, charges, and fines collected pursuant to
119this part shall be deposited in the State Treasury to the credit
120of the Regulatory Trust Fund under the office.
121     Section 5.  Section 559.104, Florida Statutes, is created
122to read:
123     559.104  Rules.-The commission may adopt rules to
124administer this part, including rules that:
125     (1)  Require electronic submission of any forms, documents,
126or fees required under this part.
127     (2)  Establish time periods during which an applicant for
128registration is barred from registration or a registered debt
129settlement organization is barred from renewal due to prior
130criminal convictions of, or guilty or nolo contendere pleas by,
131any of the applicant's or registrant's control persons,
132regardless of adjudication.
133     (a)  The rules must provide:
134     1.  Permanent bars for felonies involving money laundering,
135breach of trust, dishonesty, embezzlement, fraud, fraudulent
136conversion, misappropriation of property, racketeering, or
137theft;
138     2.  A 15-year disqualifying period for felonies involving
139moral turpitude;
140     3.  A 7-year disqualifying period for all other felonies;
141and
142     4.  A 5-year disqualifying period for misdemeanors
143involving fraud, dishonesty, or any other act of moral
144turpitude.
145     (b)  The rules may provide for an additional waiting period
146due to dates of imprisonment or community supervision, the
147commitment of multiple crimes, and other factors reasonably
148related to the applicant's criminal history.
149     (c)  The rules may provide for mitigating factors for
150crimes identified in subparagraph (a)2. However, the mitigation
151may not result in a period of disqualification less than 7
152years. The rule may not mitigate the disqualifying periods in
153subparagraphs (a)1., (a)3., and (a)4.
154     (d)  An applicant is not eligible for registration until
155the expiration of the disqualifying period set by rule.
156     (e)  Section 112.011 is not applicable to eligibility for
157registration under this part.
158     Section 6.  Section 559.105, Florida Statutes, is created
159to read:
160     559.105  Exceptions.-This part does not apply to:
161     (1)  A person licensed to practice law in this state who is
162providing debt settlement services.
163     (2)  A person who engages in debt settlement services to
164adjust the indebtedness owed to such person.
165     (3)  The following entities or their subsidiaries:
166     (a)  The Federal National Mortgage Association.
167     (b)  The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.
168     (c)  The Florida Housing Finance Corporation created
169pursuant to s. 420.504.
170     (d)  Any financial institution as defined in s.
171655.005(1)(h).
172     (e)  A consumer reporting agency as defined in the Federal
173Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. s. 1681a.
174     Section 7.  Section 559.106, Florida Statutes, is created
175to read:
176     559.106  Registration of debt settlement organization.-
177     (1)  Effective April 1, 2011, each person who acts as a
178debt settlement organization in this state must be registered in
179accordance with this section. This applies to debt settlement
180organizations operating in this state or from another state,
181regardless of whether such organization is registered, licensed,
182or the equivalent in accordance with the laws of another state.
183     (2)  In order to apply for registration, an applicant must
184submit:
185     (a)  A completed registration application form as
186prescribed by commission rule which includes the name and
187principal business address and e-mail address of the debt
188settlement organization.
189     (b)  A registration fee of $1,000. The registration fee is
190nonrefundable and may not be prorated for a partial year of
191registration.
192     (c)  Fingerprints for the applicant and each of the
193applicant's control persons in accordance with rules adopted by
194the commission.
195     1.  The fingerprints may be submitted to the office or a
196vendor acting on behalf of the office.
197     2.  The office may contract with a third-party vendor to
198provide live-scan fingerprinting in lieu of a paper fingerprint
199card.
200     3.  A state criminal history background check must be
201conducted through the Department of Law Enforcement, and a
202federal criminal history background check must be conducted
203through the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
204     4.  All fingerprints submitted to the Department of Law
205Enforcement must be submitted electronically and entered into
206the statewide automated fingerprint identification system
207established in s. 943.05(2)(b) and available for use in
208accordance with s. 943.05(2)(g) and (h). The office shall pay an
209annual fee to the department to participate in the system and
210inform the department of any person whose fingerprints are no
211longer required to be retained.
212     5.  The costs of fingerprint processing, including the cost
213of retaining the fingerprints, shall be borne by the person
214subject to the background check.
215     6.  The office is responsible for reviewing the results of
216the state and federal criminal history checks and determining
217whether the applicant meets registration requirements.
218     (d)  Submit documentation demonstrating that the surety
219bond requirements specified in s. 559.108 have been satisfied.
220     (e)  Submit additional information or documentation
221requested by the office and required by rule concerning the
222applicant or a control person of the applicant. Additional
223information may include documentation of pending and prior
224disciplinary and criminal history events, including arrest
225reports and certified copies of charging documents, plea
226agreements, judgments and sentencing documents, documents
227relating to pretrial intervention, orders terminating probation
228or supervised release, final administrative agency orders, or
229other comparable documents that may provide the office with the
230appropriate information to determine eligibility for
231registration.
232     (3)  An application is considered received for the purposes
233of s. 120.60 upon the office's receipt of the completed
234application form, all required documentation, criminal history
235information, the application fee, and all applicable
236fingerprinting processing fees.
237     (4)  The office shall issue a debt settlement organization
238registration to each applicant who is not otherwise ineligible
239and who meets the requirements of this section. However, it is a
240ground for denial of registration if the applicant or one of the
241applicant's control persons:
242     (a)  Has been found guilty of, regardless of adjudication,
243or has entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, any
244felony, any crime involving racketeering, fraud, theft,
245embezzlement, fraudulent conversion, breach of trust,
246misappropriation of property, dishonesty, or moral turpitude;
247     (b)  Has committed any violation specified in s. 559.113;
248     (c)  Is the subject of a pending felony criminal
249prosecution or a prosecution or an administrative enforcement
250action, in any jurisdiction, which involves fraud, racketeering,
251embezzlement, fraudulent conversion, misappropriation of
252property, theft, dishonesty, breach of trust, or any other act
253of moral turpitude;
254     (d)  Pays the office any fee, fine, or other amount with a
255check or electronic transmission of funds which fails to clear
256the applicant's financial institution;
257     (e)  Makes a material misstatement on any application,
258document, or record required to be submitted under this part or
259the rules of the commission; or
260     (f)  Has been the subject of any decision, finding,
261injunction, suspension, prohibition, revocation, denial,
262judgment, or other adverse action by any state or federal
263agency.
264     (5)  A registration issued under this section expires
265annually on March 31, unless canceled, suspended, revoked, or
266otherwise terminated, and must be renewed as provided under s.
267559.107.
268     Section 8.  Effective April 1, 2011, section 559.107,
269Florida Statutes, is created to read:
270     559.107  Registration renewal.-
271     (1)  In order to renew a debt settlement organization
272registration, a debt settlement organization must submit:
273     (a)  A completed registration renewal form as prescribed by
274commission rule.
275     (b)  Fingerprints, in accordance with s. 559.106, for any
276new control persons who have not been screened.
277     (c)  Any additional information or documentation requested
278by the office and required by rule concerning the registrant or
279control person of the registrant. Additional information may
280include documentation of any pending and prior disciplinary and
281criminal history events, including arrest reports and certified
282copies of charging documents, plea agreements, judgments and
283sentencing documents, documents relating to pretrial
284intervention, orders terminating probation or supervised
285release, final administrative agency orders, or other comparable
286documents that may provide the office with the appropriate
287information to determine eligibility for renewal of
288registration.
289     (d)  A nonrefundable renewal fee of $750 and nonrefundable
290fees to cover the cost of further fingerprint processing and
291retention as set forth in commission rule.
292     (2)  The office may not renew a debt settlement
293organization registration unless the registrant continues to
294meet the minimum requirements for initial registration pursuant
295to s. 559.106 and adopted rule.
296     Section 9.  Section 559.108, Florida Statutes, is created
297to read:
298     559.108  Financial requirements; surety bond; disclosure.-A
299debt settlement organization must:
300     (1)  Obtain and maintain at all times insurance coverage
301for employee dishonesty, depositor's forgery, and computer fraud
302in an amount not less than the greater of $100,000 or 10 percent
303of the monthly average of the aggregate of all deposits made by
304debtors to the organization for distribution to creditors for
305the 6 months immediately preceding the date of initial
306application for or renewal of the insurance. The deductible on
307such coverage may not exceed 10 percent of the face amount of
308the policy coverage.
309     (2)  Obtain and maintain a surety bond from a surety
310company authorized to do business in this state. The amount and
311form of the bond shall be specified by rule and must be at least
312$50,000 but may not exceed $1 million. The rule must provide
313allowances for business volume. The bond shall be in favor of
314the state for the use and benefit of any debtor who suffers or
315sustains any loss or damage by reason of any violation of this
316part. Pursuant to initial registration and renewal, each
317applicant shall furnish to the office:
318     (a)  The original executed surety bond issued by a surety
319company authorized to do business in this state.
320     (b)  A statement from the surety company that the premium
321for the bond has been paid in full by the applicant.
322     (c)  A statement from the surety company that the bond
323issued by the surety company meets the requirements of this
324part. The liability of the surety company under any bond issued
325pursuant to this section may not, in the aggregate, exceed the
326amount of the bond regardless of the number or amount of any
327claims filed or which might be asserted against the surety on
328such bond. If multiple claims are filed which collectively
329exceed the amount of the bond, the surety may pay the full
330amount of the bond to the office and is not further liable under
331the bond. The office shall hold such funds for distribution to
332claimants and administratively determine and pay to each
333claimant a pro rata share of each valid claim made within 6
334months after the date the first claim is filed against the
335surety.
336     Section 10.  Section 559.109, Florida Statutes, is created
337to read:
338     559.109  Maintenance of records.-
339     (1)  Each registered debt settlement organization shall
340maintain, at the principal place of business designated on the
341registration, all books, accounts, records, and documents
342necessary to determine the registrant's compliance with this
343part.
344     (2)  The office may authorize the maintenance of records at
345a location other than a principal place of business. The office
346may require books, accounts, and records to be produced and
347available at a reasonable and convenient location in this state.
348     (3)  The commission may prescribe by rule the minimum
349information to be shown in the books, accounts, records, and
350documents of registrants so that such records enable the office
351to determine the registrant's compliance with this part.
352     (4)  All books, accounts, records, documents, and receipts
353of any payment transaction must be preserved and kept available
354for inspection by the office for at least 5 years after the date
355the transaction is completed. The commission may prescribe by
356rule requirements for the destruction of books, accounts,
357records, and documents retained by the registrant after the
358completion of the required 5-year period.
359     Section 11.  Section 559.111, Florida Statutes, is created
360to read:
361     559.111  Financial analysis; service contracts.-
362     (1)  Before a debtor signs a service contract, the debt
363settlement organization shall prepare, retain a copy of, and
364provide to the debtor a written financial analysis specific to
365the debtor which includes an evaluation of the debtor's income,
366expenses, and all debts. An additional fee may not be charged
367for the financial analysis.
368     (2)  Based on the completed financial analysis, the debt
369settlement organization shall provide to the debtor, and retain
370a copy of, a written determination of the debtor's suitability
371for debt settlement services and whether the debtor can
372reasonably meet the requirements of the service contract,
373including the debtor's ability to save the amount estimated to
374be needed to fund the settlement of the debt.
375     (3)  The service contract between the debt settlement
376organization and the debtor must be signed and dated by the
377debtor and include all of the following:
378     (a)  The following statement in at least 12-point uppercase
379type at the top of the service contract:
380
381IMPORTANT:  IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU CONTACT YOUR
382CREDITORS BEFORE SIGNING THIS CONTRACT. YOUR CREDITORS
383MAY BE WILLING TO DIRECTLY NEGOTIATE A SETTLEMENT,
384INTEREST RATE REDUCTION, MODIFICATION, PAYMENT PLAN,
385OR RESTRUCTURING OF YOUR DEBT FREE OF CHARGE.
386
387YOUR USE OF DEBT SETTLEMENT SERVICES MAY RESULT IN
388LATE FEES, ADDITIONAL DEBTS, AND AN ADVERSE CREDIT
389RATING. YOU SHOULD CONTACT YOUR CREDITOR FOR MORE
390INFORMATION.
391
392     (b)  A full and detailed description of the services to be
393performed by the debt settlement organization for the debtor,
394including the financial analysis determining the suitability of
395the debtor for debt settlement services, all guarantees and all
396promises of full or partial refunds, the estimated date or
397length of time by which the services are to be performed, and a
398copy of the Florida Debt Settlement Services Act.
399     (c)  All terms and conditions of payment, including the
400anticipated total of all payments to be made by the debtor and
401the estimated amount of any payments to be made to the debt
402settlement organization or to any other person.
403     (d)  The debt settlement organization's principal business
404address and the name and address of its agent in the state
405authorized to receive service of process.
406     (e)  A clear and conspicuous statement in boldface type, in
407immediate proximity to the space reserved for the debtor's
408signature, which states: "You, the debtor, may cancel this
409service contract at any time before midnight of the 5th business
410day after the date of signing this contract. (See the attached
411notice of right to cancel for further explanation of this
412right.)"
413     (f)  A notice of right to cancel attached to the contract,
414in duplicate and easily detachable, which contains the following
415statement in at least 12-point uppercase type:
416
417
NOTICE OF RIGHT TO CANCEL
418
419YOU MAY CANCEL ANY CONTRACT FOR DEBT SETTLEMENT
420SERVICES WITHIN 5 BUSINESS DAYS AFTER THE DATE THE
421CONTRACT IS SIGNED BY YOU WITHOUT INCURRING ANY
422PENALTY OR OBLIGATION.
423
424YOUR PAYMENT MUST BE RETURNED TO YOU WITHIN 10
425BUSINESS DAYS AFTER RECEIPT OF YOUR CANCELLATION
426NOTICE.
427
428TO CANCEL THIS CONTRACT, YOU MUST MAIL OR DELIVER A
429SIGNED AND DATED COPY OF THIS CANCELLATION NOTICE OR
430ANY OTHER WRITTEN NOTICE CLEARLY INDICATING YOUR
431DESIRE TO CANCEL YOUR CONTRACT.
432
433TO:  ...(name of debt settlement organization)...
434AT:  ...(address)...
435
436BY SIGNING AND DATING THIS NOTICE, I HEREBY CANCEL MY
437SERVICE CONTRACT, EXECUTED ON:  ...(date service
438contract signed)...
439
440...(Signature of Debtor)...
441...(Date)...
442...(Address)...
443...(Phone Number)...
444
445     (4)  The debt settlement organization must provide the
446debtor, at the time the documents are signed, with a copy of the
447completed service contract as described in subsection (3) and
448all other documents the organization requires the debtor to
449sign.
450     Section 12.  Section 559.112, Florida Statutes, is created
451to read:
452     559.112  Prohibited acts.-
453     (1)  A debt settlement organization may not, directly or
454indirectly, charge or accept from a debtor:
455     (a)  Any payment for services before the execution of a
456written service contract.
457     (b)  A fee or contribution greater than $50 for the initial
458setup or initial consultation.
459     (c)  A fee or contribution greater than $120 per year for
460debt settlement services provided in addition to the initial
461consultation under paragraph (b).
462     (d)  A fee or contribution for debt settlement services
463that exceeds 7.5 percent of the amount paid monthly by the
464debtor to the organization for disbursement to a creditor or $35
465per month, whichever is greater, or 7.5 percent of the enrolled
466debt.
467     (e)  A fee or contribution for debt settlement services
468that exceeds 40 percent of the savings realized, which is
469defined as the difference between the amount of enrolled debt
470and the amount paid to the creditor in discharge of the enrolled
471debt, less any fees collected pursuant to paragraphs (b) and
472(c). However, such fees collected for debt settlement services,
473in the aggregate, may not exceed 20 percent of the enrolled
474debt. For service contracts requiring fees to be paid on a
475monthly basis, the payment of such fees must be spread uniformly
476over at least 18 months or 50 percent of the term of the
477contract, whichever is greater.
478     (f)  A fee or contribution unless the debt settlement
479services result in a settlement, discharge, or modification of
480the debt on terms more favorable to the debtor than the terms of
481the original agreement between the debtor and creditor.
482     (g)  Any fee or contribution for debt settlement services,
483unless no other payment has been received, directly or
484indirectly, from the debtor for such services. Fees authorized
485under this subsection may not be a part of or included in the
486calculation of total enrolled debt.
487     (2)  A debt settlement organization may not:
488     (a)  Advise any debtor, directly or indirectly, against
489contacting or communicating with her or his creditors before or
490during the service contract period.
491     (b)  Make or use any false or misleading representations or
492omit any material fact in connection with the offer, sale, or
493provision of services, or engage, directly or indirectly, in any
494fraudulent, false, misleading, unconscionable, unfair, or
495deceptive act or practice in connection with the offer or sale
496of any of the services of a debt settlement organization.
497     (c)  Provide services to a debtor without executing a
498service contract that complies with s. 559.111.
499     (d)  Fail to provide copies of the financial analysis, all
500service contracts, and any other documents the debtor is
501required to sign as provided under s. 559.111.
502     (e)  Fail to perform any of the terms, conditions, and
503obligations provided in the service contract with the debtor.
504     (f)  Fail to disclose on any offer or sale of services,
505including any Internet website, the debt settlement
506organization's name, business address, telephone number, and e-
507mail address, if any.
508     (g)  Fail to provide the debtor with a 5-business-day right
509of cancellation without the debtor incurring any penalty or
510obligation.
511     (h)  Fail to report on a form prescribed by commission rule
512any change to information contained in an initial application
513form or any amendment to the application within 30 days after
514the change is effective.
515     (i)  Fail to comply with any of the provisions of this
516part.
517     Section 13.  Section 559.113, Florida Statutes, is created
518to read:
519     559.113  Debtor complaints; administrative duties.-
520     (1)  The office shall receive and maintain records of
521correspondence and complaints from debtors concerning any person
522who provides debt settlement services, including any debt
523settlement organization.
524     (2)  The office shall inform and furnish relevant
525information to the appropriate regulatory body if a debt
526settlement organization exempt from registration under this part
527has been named in consumer complaints alleging violations of
528this part.
529     (3)  The office shall investigate complaints and record the
530resolution of such complaints.
531     (4)  A debt settlement organization that provides or
532attempts to provide debt settlement services without first
533registering in accordance with this part is subject to a penalty
534of up to $25,000 in addition to the other remedies provided in
535this part and under part II of chapter 501. The office shall
536advise the appropriate state attorney, or the Attorney General,
537of any determination by the office of a violation of this part
538by any debt settlement organization that is not registered as
539required by this part. The office shall furnish the state
540attorney or Attorney General with the office's information
541concerning the alleged violations of such requirements. The
542enforcing authority is entitled to reasonable attorney's fees
543and costs in any action brought to enforce this part against an
544unregistered debt settlement organization.
545     (5)  A registered debt settlement organization must provide
546a written response to the office within 20 days after receipt of
547a written request from the office for information concerning a
548consumer complaint. The response must address the issues and
549allegations raised in the complaint. The office may impose an
550administrative fine of up to $2,500 per request per day upon any
551registrant that fails to comply with this subsection.
552     Section 14.  Section 559.114, Florida Statutes, is created
553to read:
554     559.114  Subpoenas.-
555     (1)  The office may:
556     (a)  Issue and serve subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum to
557compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of all
558books, accounts, records, and other documents and materials
559relevant to an investigation conducted by the office. The
560office, or its authorized representative, may administer oaths
561and affirmations to any person.
562     (b)  Seek subpoenas or subpoenas duces tecum from any court
563to command the appearance of witnesses and the production of
564books, accounts, records, and other documents or materials at a
565time and place named in the subpoenas, and an authorized
566representative of the office may serve such subpoenas.
567     (2)  If there is substantial noncompliance with a subpoena
568or subpoena duces tecum issued by the office, the office may
569petition the court in the county where the person subpoenaed
570resides or has her or his principal place of business for an
571order requiring the person to appear, testify, or produce such
572books, accounts, records, and other documents as are specified
573in the subpoena or subpoena duces tecum.
574     (3)  The office is entitled to the summary procedure
575provided in s. 51.011, and the court shall advance such cause on
576its calendar. Attorney's fees and any other costs incurred by
577the office to obtain an order granting, in whole or in part, a
578petition for enforcement of a subpoena or subpoena duces tecum
579shall be taxed against the subpoenaed person, and failure to
580comply with such order is a contempt of court.
581     (4)  To aid in the enforcement of this part, the office may
582require or permit a person to file a statement in writing, under
583oath or otherwise as the office determines, as to all the facts
584and circumstances concerning the matter to be investigated.
585     Section 15.  Section 559.115, Florida Statutes, is created
586to read:
587     559.115  Cease and desist orders.-The office may issue and
588serve upon any person an order to cease and desist and to take
589corrective action if it has reason to believe the person is
590violating, has violated, or is about to violate any provision of
591this part, any rule or order issued under this part, or any
592written agreement between the person and the office. All
593procedural matters relating to issuance and enforcement of such
594order are governed by the Administrative Procedure Act.
595     Section 16.  Section 559.116, Florida Statutes, is created
596to read:
597     559.116  Violations; penalties.-
598     (1)  A person who violates any provision of this part
599commits an unfair or deceptive trade practice as defined in part
600II of chapter 501 and is also subject to the penalties,
601remedies, and enforcement actions provided therein. Further, any
602debtor injured by a violation of this part may bring an action
603for recovery of damages. Judgment shall be entered for actual
604damages, but in no case less than the amount paid by the debtor
605to the debt settlement organization plus reasonable attorney's
606fees and costs.
607     (2)  The office may impose an administrative fine on, or
608revoke or suspend the registration of a registrant who has
609committed a violation of this part. Final action to fine,
610suspend, or revoke the registration of a registrant is subject
611to review in accordance with chapter 120.
612     (a)  The office may impose suspension rather than
613revocation of a registration if circumstances warrant that one
614or the other should be imposed and the registrant demonstrates
615that the registrant has taken affirmative steps that can be
616expected to effectively eliminate the violations and that the
617registrant's registration has never been previously suspended.
618     (b)  In addition to, or in lieu of suspension or revocation
619of a registration, the office may impose an administrative fine
620of up to $25,000 per violation. The office shall adopt rules
621establishing guidelines for imposing administrative penalties.
622     (3)  A person who provides debt settlement services in this
623state without first registering with the office, or who
624registers or attempts to register by means of fraud,
625misrepresentation, or concealment, commits a felony of the third
626degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s.
627775.084.
628     Section 17.  Paragraph (g) of subsection (1) of section
629516.07, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
630     516.07  Grounds for denial of license or for disciplinary
631action.-
632     (1)  The following acts are violations of this chapter and
633constitute grounds for denial of an application for a license to
634make consumer finance loans and grounds for any of the
635disciplinary actions specified in subsection (2):
636     (g)  Any violation of part III of chapter 817 or part II of
637chapter 559 or of any rule adopted under part II of chapter 559.
638     Section 18.  Sections 559.10, 559.11, 559.12, and 559.13,
639Florida Statutes, are repealed.
640     Section 19.  Effective July 1, 2010, the sums of $261,938
641in recurring funds and $213,767 in nonrecurring funds are
642appropriated from the Regulatory Trust Fund of the Department of
643Financial Services to the Office of Financial Regulation, and
644four full-time equivalent positions with the associated salary
645rate of 187,707 are authorized, for the purpose of administering
646this act during the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
647     Section 20.  Except as otherwise expressly provided in this
648act and except for this section, which shall take effect upon
649this act becoming a law, this act shall take effect January 1,
6502011.


CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.
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