News Releases RSS | Minnesota Department of Commerce http://mn.gov/commerce en-us 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 $10 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. Department of Commerce offers assistance and information for a storm damage claim Thu, 19 Jun 2014 14:22:09 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-133253 For more than a week, Minnesota has experienced significant precipitation throughout the state, causing flooding and damage. The severe weather is expected to continue through June 20th and could include damaging hail and wind. The Department of Commerce reminds consumers to review their auto and homeowners policy, contact their insurance agent and document property damage. Five Tips for Saving Energy at Home When You’re Away on Summer Vacation Wed, 18 Jun 2014 09:53:31 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-132870 Are you planning an extended summer vacation—one week, two weeks, or more? Before leaving town, there are several simple steps you can take to save energy in your home—and save money. Commerce Commissioner Hits the Road as Call-to-Action to Raise Awareness about Senior Financial Abuse Fri, 13 Jun 2014 11:11:18 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-132361 As part of the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s ongoing state-wide outreach effort to protect senior citizens from financial fraud and abuse, Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman will spend today at Rochester Community Technical College to commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) by teaching the class “Preventing Elder Investment Fraud: Assessing for Vulnerability to Financial Exploitation.” Today’s presentation marks the fifteenth event in a statewide push to teach communities how to spot and report fraud and financial abuse within the elderly and vulnerable adult populations. WEAAD is an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and communities to come together as a call-to-action to raise awareness about senior financial abuse. Minnesota Commerce Department Settles with Fourth Oil Company to Return Money Back to the State Mon, 09 Jun 2014 13:08:23 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-131899 Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman today finalized the fourth settlement agreement as part of an investigation of improper insurance claims made by oil companies to clean up contaminated sites. The $100,000 settlement with Sunoco and the previous settlements Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and ConocoPhillips total $7.525 million to be returned to Minnesota’s Petroleum Tank Release Cleanup Fund (Petrofund). Commerce Department Recommends Xcel Trim Rate Request by 60 Percent Thu, 05 Jun 2014 16:33:31 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-131800 The Minnesota Department of Commerce Division of Energy Resources recommended today that the $291 million rate increase proposed by Xcel Energy for electric service in 2014 and 2015 be reduced by over $174 million or 60 percent overall. Xcel provides electric service to over 1,240,926 customers, located largely in the Twin Cities and the southern half of Minnesota. After an extensive review of Xcel’s proposed rate increase, Commerce concluded that Xcel would still be able to provide safe, reliable service by making needed improvements to distribution, transmission and generation facilities at the pared-down rate increase level. Energy Information Center: A Trusted Source to Answer your Energy Questions Mon, 02 Jun 2014 12:55:37 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-131352 Do you need guidance on a new energy efficiency project—an AC/furnace system, attic insulation, new windows and doors? Are you looking for ways to finance a renewable energy system? Not sure where to start on saving energy and reducing your utility bills? Commerce Commissioner Reaches Settlement with Transamerica and MetLife Tue, 27 May 2014 11:45:49 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-130947 SAINT PAUL, MN – Today, Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman signed Regulatory Settlement Agreements with Transamerica and MetLife that require both insurance companies to pay Minnesota beneficiaries their rightful proceeds from life insurance policies, annuity contracts and retained asset accounts. New Consumer Protections Will Help Minnesotans Who Rely on Propane to Heat Their Homes Fri, 16 May 2014 11:07:03 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-129898 As part of National Consumer Protection Week, which takes place March 2 – 8, the Minnesota Department of Commerce and Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) are partnering to offer consumers advice on companies offering credit repair services. Time for a New Washer? Look for an ENERGY STAR® Clothes Washer to Save Energy, Water Thu, 15 May 2014 12:02:20 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-129720 In the market for a new clothes washer? More consumers are looking to ENERGY STAR® -certified clothes washers in order to use less energy and water, save money on utility bills, and help protect our environment. Need a reason to replace your old dishwasher – Minnesota Energy Tips has the information to help consumers clean up Fri, 02 May 2014 16:16:00 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-128475 Older dishwashers use more water and electricity than newer, ENERGY STAR® models. To get started on the right track, when shopping for a new dishwasher, always look for the ENERGY STAR label. Commerce Department Offers Tips for Minnesotans Interested in New Ride-Sharing Services Fri, 02 May 2014 07:50:11 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-128467 SAINT PAUL, MN – Cars with pink mustaches and new ride-share phone apps are sparking interest in the Twin Cities, as well as other cities across the country. Before hitting the road, the Minnesota Department of Commerce is offering the following consumer information to drivers and customers to explain potential insurance issues for Minnesotans interested in participating in ridesharing or transportation networking company (TNC) services. Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman Receives National Award for Work in Financial Empowerment Wed, 30 Apr 2014 09:47:06 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-128250 SAINT PAUL, MN – Friday, Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman was presented the Desjardins Financial Education Award for State Government Policymakers at the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s (MNCUN) annual meeting in Bloomington. Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman Receives National Award for Work in Financial Empowerment Mon, 28 Apr 2014 16:11:56 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-128106 Friday, Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman was presented the Desjardins Financial Education Award for State Government Policymakers at the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s (MNCUN) annual meeting in Bloomington. The national award given by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), recognized Rothman for his commitment to strengthening financial capability through outreach and education for all Minnesotans from Kindergarten to retirement. Make Every Day Earth Day Fri, 25 Apr 2014 13:22:51 -0500 Minnesota /commerce/media/newsdetail.jsp?id=206-127787 The Minnesota Department of Commerce is declaring that the 44th-annual Earth Day is a call to action for Minnesota communities and residents to rekindle their passion for a cleaner environment.