News Releases RSS | Minnesota Department of Commerce http://mn.gov/commerce en-us Commerce Department revokes debt collector’s license and orders $200K civil penalty Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:44:04 -0600 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-150993 SAINT PAUL, MN — The Minnesota Department of Commerce recently ordered Robert Dunham of Lakeville, Minnesota, the owner of Receivables Management Solutions, Inc. (RMS) to pay a civil penalty of $200,000 for operating without a license and using money collected by his debt collection companies for personal extravagances. Energy-saving tips for the holiday season Mon, 15 Dec 2014 11:17:12 -0600 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-150600 The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources recommends a few simple ways to conserve energy and save money this holiday season. Investment Advisor Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Investors for Millions of Dollars Thu, 11 Dec 2014 13:29:13 -0600 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-150496 United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the guilty plea of SEAN MEADOWS, 41, for using his financial planning and asset management firm, Meadows Financial Group (MFG), operated a Ponzi scheme and fraudulently obtained millions of dollars from dozens of victims. Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman Signs Settlements with Voya and Lincoln Insurance Companies Thu, 11 Dec 2014 13:11:05 -0600 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-150494 SAINT PAUL, MN – Today, Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman signed Resolution and Regulatory Settlement Agreements with Voya (ING) and Lincoln, the fourth and fifth life insurance companies that had been subject to sweeping market conduct examinations to find unpaid policies for Minnesota consumers. Commerce Department reminds Minnesotans to keep propane tanks above one quarter full this winter Wed, 10 Dec 2014 09:47:14 -0600 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-150414 SAINT PAUL, MN – In Minnesota, being prepared for winter is always a necessity. The Minnesota Department of Commerce reminds Minnesotans who depend on propane and fuel oil for heat, to watch fuel tank levels and call your supplier before your tank goes below one quarter full. Energy-saving gifts for the holidays—gifts that ‘keep on giving’ Mon, 01 Dec 2014 11:37:10 -0600 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-149637 When making your holiday shopping list, consider the energy-saving factor of gifts. Your loved ones will appreciate a gift even more if it is environmentally friendly and saves energy for years to come. Consider giving ENERGY STARĀ® appliances, electronics, and lighting products this holiday season. The Minnesota Commerce Department reminds consumers to be safe and shop smart to avoid dangerous toys and products this holiday season Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:13:39 -0600 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-149336 SAINT PAUL – As shoppers start making their holiday lists, the Minnesota Department of Commerce reminds families to stay vigilant about toys and product safety. Be safe and shop smart to keep dangerous toys and products away from your family this holiday season, and all year round. Defendant Charged After Investigation by Commerce Fraud Bureau Busts Investment Fraud Wed, 19 Nov 2014 11:16:13 -0600 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-148982 SAINT PAUL - An Edina man has been charged by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office with swindling 13 Minnesotans out of more than $430,000, following an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Commerce Fraud Bureau. Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman Receives National Award for Work in Empowering Minnesotans to Save for Retirement Mon, 17 Nov 2014 11:23:36 -0600 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-148615 SAINT PAUL – Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman was presented the Insured Retirement Institute’s Champions of Retirement Security Award in Washington, D.C. on Sunday. It’s cold out there! The Minnesota Department of Commerce has resources and tips to help you stay warm Mon, 17 Nov 2014 11:15:10 -0600 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-148614 Struggling to pay winter utility bills? Looking to improve energy efficiency? Deer in the headlights: Does your auto insurance have you covered? Mon, 10 Nov 2014 10:40:00 -0600 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-147810 SAINT PAUL – Do you know if your auto insurance covers you if you hit a deer? Last year there were over 2,000 deer-vehicle crashes across Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Commerce reminds consumers to check their auto insurance policies to make sure they have coverage for deer hits. Commerce Department and VA team up to increase job opportunities for veterans Mon, 10 Nov 2014 10:00:12 -0600 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-147803 SAINT PAUL - The Minnesota Department of Commerce is dedicated to helping military veterans open new doors to employment. The Department is supporting veterans’ efforts to get licensed in Minnesota for qualifying real estate and insurance occupations by partnering with the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs to reimburse veterans for certain licensing examinations. Minnesota Commerce Department receives MnSEIA’s 1st Excellence in Minnesota Solar Implementation Award Thu, 06 Nov 2014 13:54:14 -0600 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-147485 SAINT PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources accepted the first-annual Excellence in Minnesota Solar Implementation Award from the Minnesota Solar Energy Industry Association (MnSEIA) on November 5, 2014. Commerce Department Releases Minnesota Renewable Energy Integration and Transmission Study Thu, 06 Nov 2014 09:20:00 -0600 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-147425 Yesterday, the Minnesota Renewable Energy Integration and Transmission Study conducted by Minnesota utilities and transmission companies in coordination with MISO and directed by the Minnesota Department of Commerce was publicly released. Act now to solve ice dams, prevent costly home repairs Tue, 04 Nov 2014 10:52:46 -0600 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-147180 Although ice dams may be far from mind today, homeowners can act now to help prevent ice dams and costly water damage to ceilings and walls. Governor proclaims Oct. 30 Weatherization Day Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:58:46 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-146305 SAINT PAUL – Every year thousands of Minnesotans benefit from the state’s Weatherization Assistance Program. To raise awareness of the program, Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed Oct. 30, 2014 Weatherization Day in Minnesota. The state’s Weatherization Assistance Program helps reduce energy use for low-income residents who struggle to pay their utility bills. Winter Prep for Homeowners Tue, 28 Oct 2014 09:58:42 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-145800 SAINT PAUL – Winter is just around the corner. To help Minnesota prepare, the Department of Commerce has tips to help homeowners save energy, reduce utility bills, and keep homes safe this winter season. Department of Commerce receives $103 million in funding for the Energy Assistance Program Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:35:27 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-145679 SAINT PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced today that Minnesota received $103,239,338 in federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program (EAP). Minnesota Department of Commerce Highlights Tips for National Save for Retirement Week Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:54:37 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-145231 SAINT PAUL, MN – Fifty percent of Americans are not actively planning for retirement. Thirty-one percent of Americans have no retirement savings at all, including 19 percent of those close to retirement. The Minnesota Department of Commerce is encouraging Minnesotans to take steps to start saving during National Save for Retirement Week. Minnesota Department of Commerce Releases Cybersecurity Survey Findings for Mid-Sized Investment Advisors Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:01:17 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-145233 SAINT PAUL, MN - The Minnesota Department of Commerce has released results of a survey it conducted to better understand cybersecurity practices of state-registered investment advisers. The survey was conducted in conjunction with the North American Securities Administration Association (NASAA), of which Minnesota is a member. Registered Securities Agent and Financial Advisor Pleads Guilty to Defrauding at Least 24 Victims for More Than $980,000 Fri, 17 Oct 2014 07:14:06 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-144928 United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the guilty plea of SUSAN ELIZABETH WALKER, 50, for abusing her position of trust as a registered securities agent and financial advisor to steal nearly $1 million from at least 24 victims. New energy efficiency standards make refrigerators, freezers a smart buy Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:28:36 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-144781 New U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) energy efficiency standards for refrigerators and freezers took effect on Sept. 15, 2014. That means a new refrigerator purchased today will use about 25 percent less energy than most common refrigerator types. Commerce Department Urges Minnesotans to Prepare for Medicare Open Enrollment Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:19:10 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-144774 SAINT PAUL, MN –The Minnesota Department of Commerce urges seniors to use Medicare Open Enrollment as an opportunity to evaluate their coverage options. The Department reminds seniors that insurance policies can change, making it important to review any notices regarding changes from their insurance companies. Seniors should use open enrollment as an opportunity to reexamine their coverage and find a policy that fits their budget and health needs. Misleading Memberships: Commerce Department Fines Company for Duping Consumers into Buying Bogus Medical Discount Plans Tue, 14 Oct 2014 10:46:36 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-144388 SAINT PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Commerce has charged a New York-based company with tricking Minnesota consumers into buying substandard health insurance plans. Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule Starts October 15 Mon, 13 Oct 2014 10:38:09 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-144258 SAINT PAUL, MN—As the heating season kicks in, the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) encourage Minnesotans to contact their utilities now to learn more about the Cold Weather Rule protection to keep homes heated all winter long, and avoid disconnection. Defendant Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Investors for more than $19 million in Small Appliance Resale Scheme Fri, 10 Oct 2014 11:10:46 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-144206 United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the guilty plea of TYRONE HERMAN, 55, of St. Anthony, Minn., for defrauding investors for more than $19 million. HERMAN, who was charged by information on September 9, 2014, pleaded guilty today before Untied States District Judge Joan N. Ericksen. Minnesota Department of Commerce investigation results in restitution for victims of life insurance scam Wed, 08 Oct 2014 10:04:08 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-143997 SAINT PAUL, MN – In response to a Minnesota farmer’s complaint alleging that Larry Chinn and Financial Institution Consulting Corporation mislead consumers and promoted unsuitable insurance policies, the Minnesota Department of Commerce initiated an investigation into the practices and issued a Consent Order barring both Chinn and the company from the sale of any premium financed life insurance products in the state. Maintain your heating system to ensure safety, efficiency Mon, 06 Oct 2014 09:46:48 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-143996 As the heating season kicks in, it is time to make sure your heating system is working properly. Heating and cooling account for about 55 percent of the energy used in a typical Minnesota home, the largest energy expense for most homes. State of Minnesota Terminates Contracts with Community Action of Minneapolis Fri, 26 Sep 2014 11:26:51 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-142220 ST. PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Departments of Human Services (DHS) and Commerce today announced that the State of Minnesota has taken formal steps to terminate all contracts with Community Action of Minneapolis. When to replace your furnace or boiler Mon, 15 Sep 2014 15:02:05 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-141021 Minnesotans know that our home’s heating system is vital to our health, safety, and comfort, and is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment in our home. Most U.S. homes are heated by a furnace or boiler. Back to School? Commerce Reminds Parents to Check their Insurance Coverage for College Kids Tue, 09 Sep 2014 09:56:32 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-140578 SAINT PAUL, MN – With college students back at campus, insurance might be the furthest thing from most parents’ minds. Parents of college students should be aware that auto and homeowners insurance plans may not fully cover a stolen or damaged item while on campus away from home. The Great Minnesota Get-Together is Over but Minnesotans Can Always Find Missing Money! Mon, 08 Sep 2014 14:24:30 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-140478 SAINT PAUL, MN – Unclaimed Property Day at the Great Minnesota Get-Together this year was a success, finding over $71,000 for fairgoers in one day and ten times that amount over the entire State Fair. In total, over 7,000 Minnesota consumers found missing money at the Minnesota Department of Commerce booth. Commerce Urges Homeowners to be Prepared for the Upcoming Propane Heating Season Tue, 02 Sep 2014 13:31:12 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-140171 Back to school signals the end of summer and the Minnesota Department of Commerce urges Minnesotans who rely on propane to heat their homes, especially those with lower incomes, to start now and plan ahead to avoid the pitfalls of last year’s propane crisis, when prices spiked. Commerce Department Investigation Reverses Foreclosure, Saves Home Tue, 02 Sep 2014 12:41:44 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-140153 SAINT PAUL, MN – A Minnesota Department of Commerce investigation resulted in reversing a foreclosure sale of a property owned by a Minnesota couple. Additionally, the Commerce Department ordered Kyanite Services Inc., previously known as Seterus Inc., to provide proof it had rescinded the November 2013 foreclosure sale. Best State Fair Value – Find Your Missing Money! Visit the Commerce Department Unclaimed Property Booth Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:07:39 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-139856 This year at the Great Minnesota Get-Together State, the Minnesota Department of Commerce wants to reunite Minnesota consumers with their missing money. Commerce Department Investigation Unearths Multiple Allegations against Criminal Coin Dealer Wed, 13 Aug 2014 14:34:05 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-138973 SAINT PAUL, MN – A Minnesota Department of Commerce investigation of Wholesale Assets Worldwide, LLC (WAW), a company engaged in coin and precious metal dealings, and Dennis Charles Helmer has been cited in an indictment by the United States Attorney on 19 counts of wire fraud. This is the first significant investigation into allegations of bullion coin-related criminal conduct since the State of Minnesota was the first to pass legislation in 2013 to clean up various segments of the coin industry that has been plagued with unscrupulous business practices. U.S. Department of the Treasury and Minnesota Commerce Department team up to promote retirement savings Mon, 11 Aug 2014 09:45:21 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-138607 National statistics indicate that more than 9 out of 10 working-age households are not saving enough for retirement. It is reported that roughly half of those people have not yet started to save. As part of the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s ongoing commitment to change that trend through financial literacy and capability, Commissioner Mike Rothman joined the U.S. Department of the Treasury Under Secretary for Domestic Finance Mary Miller today in introducing the myRA program at an informational event at the Mall of America to get Minnesotans saving. Investment Advisor Indicted for Defrauding Investors for more than $10 Million Wed, 06 Aug 2014 10:27:40 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-138264 United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the indictment of SEAN MEADOWS, 41, for using his financial planning and asset management firm, Meadows Financial Group (MFG), to operate a Ponzi scheme and fraudulently obtain at least $10 million from at least 50 victims. The defendant is charged with Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, and Money Laundering offenses. The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. Farmfest 2014: Commerce Department “Here to Help” Minnesota’s Farm Families and Businesses Tue, 05 Aug 2014 14:20:33 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-138216 The Minnesota Department of Commerce returns to Farmfest this year, with more information relevant to rural Minnesota economies than ever before. The Commerce Department booth is located in the Agriculture Tents, where Commerce staff will be on hand to answer questions about the following topics affecting farmers, their families and agricultural industries: Tips for lowering cooling costs in your home Fri, 01 Aug 2014 11:56:32 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-137925 Continuous cooling during the dog days of summer can take a bite out of your budget. You can reduce air conditioning energy use by 20-50 percent by switching to a high-efficiency, ENERGY STAR-qualified air conditioner and taking other actions to lower your home’s cooling costs. Commerce, Minnesota Housing partner to create more energy efficiency loan opportunities Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:53:25 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-137268 SAINT PAUL, MN – Minnesota consumers now have a new energy efficiency home improvement loan program that allows more people to access low-interest, unsecured loans and make important energy efficiency upgrades, thanks to a partnership of the Minnesota Department of Commerce and Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. Commerce Department takes action and fines investment advisor operating a Ponzi-scheme targeting elderly investors Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:13:30 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-136927 SAINT PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Commerce ordered Mark Holt, a licensed investment advisor, insurance agent, and attorney, to stop engaging in securities related activity and to pay a $300,000 civil penalty for defrauding multiple investors, many of whom are senior citizens, as part of a Ponzi scheme. The findings of fact issued by the Department allege that Holt misled his clients, usually retirees and the elderly who indicated that they specifically invested their money with him due to his standing as a licensed attorney. Commerce Department offers 10 basic no-cost or low-cost ways to stay cool, save energy, reduce emissions Mon, 07 Jul 2014 13:57:25 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-135308 SAINT PAUL, MN — As we enter the hot days of summer with temperatures over 90 degrees, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources reminds consumers of some simple no-cost or low-cost energy-saving tips to help keep cool, conserve energy, and reduce utility bills. Commerce Commissioner orders Legal Helpers to pay $187,500 in restitution to Minnesota consumers Mon, 30 Jun 2014 13:27:18 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-134642 SAINT PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Commerce consent order signed recently requires Chicago-based Legal Helpers Debt Resolution, LLC (LHDR) and its subsidiaries to pay Minnesota consumers $187,500 in restitution for unauthorized and unregistered debt settlement in Minnesota. Department of Commerce orders auto-dialing, unlicensed insurance-selling company to pay $191,185 civil penalty Wed, 25 Jun 2014 14:06:40 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-134007 SAINT PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Commerce recently ordered Variable Marketing LLC, which does business under the name Instant Insurance Marketing to pay a $191,185 civil penalty for making numerous fraudulent and unlicensed solicitations to Minnesota consumers. Commerce Department reminds real estate professionals and collection agencies to renew licenses, and bullion coin dealers to register by June 30 Mon, 23 Jun 2014 14:36:30 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-133433 SAINT PAUL, MN – It’s that time of year again! The Minnesota Department of Commerce is reminding real estate professionals and debt collectors with a license expiration date of June 30, 2014 to set some time aside and submit their renewal by June 30, 2014, 4:30 p.m. CST.