The Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (formerly the Department Of Business Oversight or DBO) is tasked with protecting consumers by carefully monitoring financial service providers and products. The DBO supervises a wide range of state-licensed financial institutions from banks and credit unions to financial service providers and advisers, consumer financial lenders, and many others.
APPLICANTS AND DENIALS
The DFPI/DBO accomplishes this supervision through a comprehensive licensing scheme, in which applicants are evaluated. Some may be denied as a result of past criminal history, financial and legal issues, discipline by another agency, or other violations of the laws substantially related to DBO activities.
S J Harris Law has extensive experience in working with agencies like the DBO and financial professionals who may be denied a license by the DBO.
It is important to consult an attorney like Scott J. Harris, Esq. prior to making an application for licensure, or if the DBO has denied you a license. If you have a criminal conviction in your past, have had a license or certification disciplined by the SEC, FINRA, a Department of Insurance, NMLS, or a Department of Real Estate, or have had personal legal and financial troubles, you should consult an attorney before and during your application process.
DBO INVESTIGATIONS AND DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS
When a licensed financial professional or lender is accused of a criminal or administrative law violation or receives a serious consumer complaint, the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation launches an investigation. This can sometimes result in the suspension or revocation of a professional license. While this is never an ideal situation for a licensed professional, there are steps you can take to fight disciplinary actions taken against your license.
Attorney Scott J Harris is experienced in defending professional licenses threatened by the DBO, and in fighting for clients whose licenses have been denied. Below you’ll learn key facts about Department of Business Oversight license defense, and how our experienced DBO license attorneys can help defend your license and your rights.
Common Reasons for DFPI – DBO Investigations
The most common reason the California Department of Business Oversight launches an investigation is in response to a consumer complaint. Accusations like fraud, negligence, or unprofessional conduct will almost always lead to a formal DBO investigation. In addition, if the DBO discovers that a licensed professional has violated California Finance Lenders Law or failed to report a known violation, they will begin an investigation.
It is essential that any financial service provider or lender who is convicted or accused of a crime, or has knowingly violated the law, reports this information to the DBO immediately. Failing to disclose a conviction is grounds for revocation or denial of your professional license but being open with the DBO may help your case.
One important caveat to keep in mind is that although disclosing criminal charges is necessary, the accused or convicted party should only report the information required without providing additional details. If you need help determining what to report, the best course of action is to consult with a Department of Business Oversight license defense attorney.
DBO Investigation Outcomes
After an investigation concludes, the DBO may choose to take several different courses of action. They could close the complaint, issue a citation, or refer the issue to their Legal Division. If the issue is referred, the Legal Division will decide whether the evidence warrants filing a formal Accusation. Finally, if the case involves criminal conduct, the DBO could refer the case to the District Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution.
If you are facing investigation, having a Department of Business Oversight license defense attorney in place to fight for your rights and your license is crucial. If you are in need, don’t hesitate to contact California DBO defense attorney Scott J Harris for help determining the most appropriate course of action for your case.
What to Do if Your License is Denied
The Department of Financial Protection and Innovation thoroughly investigates all license applicants and denies licenses for a variety of reasons. If they discover criminal convictions, financial issues, or untrue statements on the applicant’s license application, their license could be denied.
If your license application is rejected, you will receive a Statement of Issues from the DBO. At this point, you must file a Notice of Defense within 15 days of the postmark date on the notice if you want to challenge the denial. If this happens to you, a proven DFPI defense attorney like Scott J Harris can help you meet the burden of proof required during your hearing.
What to do if You Receive an Accusation from the DBO
If you receive a formal Accusation from the DBO, it is an indication that they intend to suspend or revoke your license. At this point, you have 15 days from the date the Accusation was served to file a Notice of Defense.
By filing this notice, you state your intent to challenge the Accusation through a hearing. If you miss the submission deadline, however, your license will be immediately suspended or revoked. It is in your best interest to work with a lawyer during this process to ensure that your paperwork is promptly and correctly filed. In addition, the process surrounding Accusations can be overwhelming and confusing. Having the guidance of an experienced lawyer can make the experience much more manageable.
Although Accusations are very serious, working with a seasoned attorney is the best way to avoid potentially losing your license. Often, a lawyer will be able to reach a settlement agreement known as a Stipulation Agreement to help keep your license active if you are willing to practice with restrictions. An experienced Department of Business Oversight license defense attorney can guide you through the process with as little stress as possible.
What Happens During a DFPI Hearing
If you are not granted a settlement for your Accusation, you will participate in a formal hearing before an Administrative Law Judge at the California Office of Administrative Hearings. During the hearing, your lawyer will share your side of the story and present any relevant evidence to the judge. The judge’s final decision will be communicated to you in a written Proposed Decision approximately one month after the hearing concludes.
At this point, the DBO can choose to accept the judge’s decision, modify it, or reject it. The accused may appeal the final decision through a formal filing process. Again, it is best to work with a lawyer with the knowledge and experience to help you get the best possible outcome for your case.
How to Reinstate a Revoked License
If your license is revoked, a DBO license defense attorney can help you file a Petition for Reinstatement. In addition to filing this form, you and your lawyer must provide convincing evidence to support the reinstatement of your license.
The most convincing forms of evidence are those that show you have taken steps to rehabilitate yourself from your past misconduct. Regardless of the action that caused your license to be revoked, you can provide letters of support from superiors and co-workers, proof that you have participated in rehabilitative services or counseling, or other relevant documentation, depending on your case.
If you are currently experiencing difficulties with your license, a California DBO license attorney can help. Get in touch with Scott J Harris for a free consultation at 323-794-0701.