Minnesota's Department of Commerce: Be Accurate, Be Honest

Minnesota's Department of Commerce enforces the laws of Minnesota governing many regulated industries. Some of those industries are insurance, mortgage, debt collectors, and coin dealers. Each of these industries have some very specific, directed laws. But, the Department's strength in investigations lies in documents. If the proof is in writing, then you, as a licensee, are in for a tough fight. If the proof is a "he said, she said" type situation, you have a good chance.

One of the Department's "go to" statutes for violations is Minn. Stat. 45.02, subd. 7(a)(3). The statute makes it a violation of law to provide false information to the Department. In other words, you lie to the Department, you can get sanctioned.

A recent case exemplifies the importance of being honest and accurate when responding to the Department. A couple complained to the Department that a mortgage originator agreed to pay them half of a certain fee. The mortgage originator did not do so and apparently refused to do so. This private agreement is not directly related to the mortgage originator's license, but nonetheless was investigated.

The agreement related to mortgage origination activities, but the agreement was not an agreement that was specifically regulated by the Department of Commerce. It was actually a personal agreement between the mortgage originator and the clients. The biggest reason there was a sanction? The Department asked the mortgage originator if there was an agreement with the client. The mortgage originator, in his response, stated he "NEVER" agreed to a refund. The truth? The Department already had in its possession the mortgage originator's e-mail exchange with his clients wherein he agreed to the refund!

The consequence for failing to honor his agreement to refund $588 to his clients was a civil penalty of $3,500, a suspension of 30 days, the Department's costs of investigation, and a refund of the $588 agreed to by the mortgage originator previously.

Accuracy and honesty are critical. I help licensees tailor their responses to be accurate and honest without giving the Department anything more than it asks for and without confessing wrongdoing. Your career is too important to proceed without legal counsel and I'm here to help.

The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney. All information contained in links are the property of the linked site.

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