53-251.  Cease and desist; revocation of registration; penalties.

(a)        Cease and Desist Order. Upon the finding that any action of a registrant may be in violation of this Article or that the registrant has engaged in an unfair or deceptive act or practice, the Commissioner shall give reasonable notice to the registrant of the suspected violation or unfair or deceptive act or practice, and an opportunity for the registrant to be heard. If, following the hearing, the Commissioner finds that an action of the registrant is in violation of this Article or that the registrant has engaged in an unfair or deceptive act or practice, the Commissioner shall order the registrant to cease and desist from the action.

If the registrant fails to appeal a cease and desist order of the Commissioner in accordance with G.S. 53-252 and continues to engage in an action in violation of the Commissioner's order to cease and desist from the action, the registrant shall be subject to a penalty of one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each action it takes in violation of the Commissioner's order.

The clear proceeds of penalties provided for in this subsection shall be remitted to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund in accordance with G.S. 115C-457.2.

(b)        Revocation of Registration. After notice and hearing, and upon the finding that a registrant has (i) engaged in a course of conduct that is in violation of this Article or (ii) continued to engage in an action in violation of a cease and desist order of the Commissioner that has not been stayed upon application of the registrant, the Commissioner may revoke the registration of the registrant temporarily or permanently in the discretion of the Commissioner.

(c)        Civil Penalties. Except in the case of a refund anticipation loan that is not approved by the creditor, a facilitator who fails to deliver to the debtor the proceeds of a refund anticipation loan within 48 hours after the time period promised by the facilitator when the debtor applied for the loan shall pay to the debtor an amount equal to the refund anticipation loan fee. A facilitator who engages in an activity prohibited under G.S. 53-250 in connection with a refund anticipation loan is liable to the debtor for damages of three times the amount of the refund anticipation loan fee or other unauthorized charge plus a reasonable attorney's fee. (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 881, s. 2; 1998-215, s. 35.)