LICENSE INCREASE IN 5 YRS
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Regulates non-depository financial services and conducts examinations of regulated entities
Conducts periodic risk-based examinations and ensures compliance with state and federal requirements
Administers and enforces compliance with the Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act
Tallahassee, Fla. – The Florida Office of Financial Regulation today announced the arrest of James Harold Hosner, of Safety Harbor, for his alleged role in an investment scam. He is charged with the sale of an unregistered security, sale of a security by an unregistered dealer, securities fraud, and grand theft.
Interim Commissioner Pamela Epting said, “The Florida Office of Financial Regulation is committed to working with our state and federal partners to bring financial criminals to justice. I thank OFR's investigators and the Pinellas County State Attorney’s Office for their assistance in this case.”
Hosner, Chief Executive Officer of the former Phoenix Insurance Services, Inc., based in St. Petersburg, allegedly sold and issued promissory notes totaling more than $48,000 to an elderly victim. He is believed to have exploited his existing relationship as the victim’s insurance agent. Hosner purportedly represented that he was in negotiations to purchase another insurance agency, and the victim’s investment would be used to complete the sale. However, Hosner allegedly used the investment to pay routine business expenses, and failed to disclose that he and the company were in financial distress.
This case is being prosecuted by the Pinellas County State Attorney’s Office.
Active military members, veterans, and their spouses can now apply for reimbursement of mortgage loan originator and securities associated person license fees.
Tallahassee, Fla. – The Florida Office of Financial Regulation today announced that rulemaking to implement Florida House Bill 29, the Don Hahnfeldt Veteran and Military Family Opportunity Act, is complete. Active military members, veterans, and their spouses can now apply for reimbursement of fees associated with licensure of mortgage loan originators and securities associated persons.
Interim Commissioner Pamela Epting said, “The OFR is proud to support those who serve our nation, veterans, and their families. The Military Fee Waiver Program is one way to give back to these brave individuals. We encourage individuals and licensees who qualify to apply for reimbursement of license fees.”
For more information and instructions about the requirements and how to apply by license type, check out the links below.
Mortgage Loan Originator
Dealers – FINRA Member: Associated Person
Dealers – Non-FINRA Member: Associated Person
Federal Covered Advisers: Associated Person
State Registered Advisers: Associated Person
Tallahassee, Fla. – The Florida Office of Financial Regulation today announced that Shawn Anthony St. Prix has been arrested on charges of grand theft and organized scheme to defraud for his role in an alleged fraudulent mortgage note investment scam.
Interim Commissioner Pamela Epting said, “The Florida Office of Financial Regulation is committed to protecting investors from financial criminals. We continue to work tirelessly with our state and federal partners to bring fraudsters to justice.”
St. Prix allegedly represented to an investor that he was an expert in real estate investments, buying mortgage notes at a discount, and then selling them for a 30 percent profit. He promised 15-30 percent returns on money invested with him. The alleged victims invested more than $242,000. The OFR investigation revealed, however, that most of the investors’ money was used for St. Prix’s personal expenses and stock market trades.
The Office of Statewide Prosecution is prosecuting this case.
Visit OFR Consumer Resources.
Tallahassee, Fla. – Buying a new or used vehicle is exciting, and it can be easy to get swept up by a persuasive salesperson. The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) oversees motor vehicle retail installment sellers. The license authorizes its holder to offer installment payments to its customers, for the sale of motor vehicles to retail buyers. This license is required by firms that sell and finance vehicles, such as automobiles, trucks, trailers, RV's, motorcycles, and mobile homes. The OFR encourages Floridians to be sure they are fully informed before making a financial decision, including a vehicle purchase.
Protect yourself with these helpful tips:
The OFR offers Floridians a collection of Consumer Resources, where you can find more information on financial topics, including tips on how to protect yourself from potential scams.
Tallahassee, Fla. – The Florida Office of Financial Regulation today announced the sentencing of Angela Monaco (more than six years), Pasquale Rubbo (more than eight years) and Steven Dykes (nine years) to prison after pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering. Previously sentenced to prison were co-defendants Joseph Rubbo (five years) and Nicholas Rubbo (four years) after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud. All defendants were also ordered to serve three years of supervised release, and pay restitution totaling more than $6 million.
Interim Commissioner Pamela Epting said, “Thank you to our investigative team, along with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation team, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver, CO, for their assistance in bringing these scammers to justice. The Florida Office of Financial Regulation remains committed to working with our partners to protect Floridians from financial criminals.”
Through their companies, VIP Television, Inc. (VIP TV), The Spongebuddy, LLC (The Scrubbieglove, LLC), and ANJ Productions, Inc., the group defrauded investors out of more than $6 million by making false statements and representations related to securities offerings. The group promised unrealistically high returns, fake proposed mergers, exaggerated demands for the spongebuddy product and the existence of celebrity investors to entice victims to invest.
Visit OFR’s Consumer Resources.
Tallahassee, Fla. – Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are an important piece of your retirement planning. Self-directed IRAs have become a popular choice for those looking to supplement their nest egg. While most IRAs invest your money in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc., which are registered with regulatory organizations, a self-directed IRA allows the owner more control over where the money is invested, including unregistered investments. Typically, people invest in real estate, private placements, etc., though increasingly, self-directed IRA owners are investing in cryptocurrencies. The Florida Office of Financial Regulation, together with Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, are encouraging Floridians to be extremely cautious when choosing to invest in cryptocurrencies through a self-directed IRA.
Interim Commissioner Pamela Epting said, “The Florida Office of Financial Regulation is committed to protecting Floridians from financial fraud. Verify the financial services individual, company or investment with us online at www.flofr.com or by calling (850) 487-9687.”
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said, “Consumers should always do their homework before investing their hard-earned money, no matter how enticing the possibility may sound. Florida is a top state for cryptocurrency and unfortunately, fraud. It’s my job to make sure we do everything possible to protect you from being taken advantage of. Always verify before you buy and remember if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Protect yourself by doing your homework on retirement accounts and investments before committing to a decision.
The Florida Office of Financial Regulation offers Floridians a robust online collection of Consumer Resources, where you can find more information on several financial topics, including tips on how to protect yourself from potential scams.
Tallahassee, Fla. – The Florida Office of Financial Regulation today announced the surrender of Robert Lee Humphrey, Jr., for his alleged role in a crab fishery investment scam. He is charged with organized fraud, securities fraud, grand theft, sale of a security by an unregistered dealer and sale of an unregistered security.
Interim Commissioner Pamela Epting said, “The Florida Office of Financial Regulation is committed to working with our state and federal partners to bring financial criminals to justice. I encourage all Floridians who suspect questionable financial business practices to file a complaint online at www.flofr.com or by calling (850) 487-9687.”
Humphrey allegedly sold investments in High Cotton Bahamas, LLC, a supposed stone crab fishing company, to at least 12 mostly elderly victims. He purportedly solicited victims while operating as a karaoke disc jockey in Tampa Bay area bars and restaurants. Victims believed that they were guaranteed a return of 1 to 10 percent on their investment. They were also led to believe that their investments were secured by real property in the Bahamas. Humphrey is accused of using victims’ money to fund his personal lifestyle.
This case is being prosecuted by the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office.
Tallahassee, Fla. – The Florida Office of Financial Regulation today announced the unveiling of its new website, www.flofr.com.
Interim Commissioner Pamela Epting said, "We're excited about the fresh look and feel of our new website. We hope Floridians will enjoy the updated features and compatibility with mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets." The agency's most popular services are front-and-center with homepage action buttons: Verify, Online Services, and File a Complaint.
Additionally, the searchable menu on the Apply for a License page allows the user to easily find licensure information, and directs customers to Online Services so they can start the licensing process quickly.