Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation
 
Manuel Flores, Acting Secretary  
Pat Quinn, Governor
www.idfpr.com
 
IDFPR
 
       
 
 
Message from the Acting Secretary of IDFPR


I am pleased to share the IDFPR inaugural e-newsletter with you. IDFPR’s mission is to protect and promote the lives of Illinois consumers.

To that end, it is critical for IDFPR to notify the public of important information that may enhance consumer protection, and to keep our regulated professions and industries updated with the most recent Department initiatives and news.

This e-newsletter is intended to be a resource and a means to better engage consumers, as well as the professions and industries IDFPR regulates. In addition to the e-newsletter, I encourage you to visit our website at www.idfpr.com for more information and updates.

Thank you for taking the time to read the e-newsletter. IDFPR looks forward to continue to serve you and your community.

 
Secretary Flores
 

Sincerely,

Manuel Flores
Acting Secretary

 
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  Mortgage Relief Project
June 4, 2013 
 
 

Governor Pat Quinn’s Mortgage Relief Project (MRP) - a key component of the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network (IFPN) - held its 40th event since 2009 at the Morton West High School campus on Saturday, May 11, 2013, where more than 100 struggling homeowners in the Berwyn area took advantage of programs that can help save their homes from foreclosure. The Berwyn MRP event was held in partnership with State Representatives Lisa Hernandez and Mike Zalewski and State Senator Steve Landek. To date, more than 40,000 people have received housing counseling through the MRP and IFPN, either by attending an event or calling one of the homeowner help lines. Additionally, more than 400,000 people have been connected to trusted foreclosure prevention resources through the IFPN, MRP, and the Hardest Hit Fund websites.
Mortgage Relief Program  
 


Coordinated by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), the MRP connects homeowners with their respective mortgage lenders for the purpose of applying for loan modifications or accessing other forms of mortgage relief. The MRP events also include HUD-certified housing counselors and representatives from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and the Illinois Housing Development Authority to provide homeowners additional mortgage assistance. Through the MRP events, homeowners are also updated on the various federal and state mortgage relief programs and are counseled on how to avoid mortgage fraud schemes. “The MRP is a mobile, one-stop shop designed to provide Illinois homeowners the resources they need to help keep their homes in these difficult economic times,” said IDFPR Acting Secretary Manuel Flores. “An informed and persistent homeowner has the best shot of avoiding foreclosure.” The MRP events are held regularly, and throughout the state in partnership with the area state representative and state senator.

To learn more about Illinois’ mortgage relief efforts visit www.idfpr.com or www.keepyourhomeillinois.org.

 
   
  Veteran Licenses
 


On Wednesday, February 6, 2013, Governor Pat Quinn signed Executive Order 13-02, mandating a process for Illinois licensing agencies to assess and evaluate how military training and certifications compare with the training and education requirements needed for relevant state licenses. This process is part of an effort to credit military personnel for any special training they receive while in active duty toward a professional license they may apply for in Illinois. The intent is to recognize the professional and highly-skilled training our military men and women receive serving our country, while also facilitating a smoother transition to civilian life.

Veterans  


The Executive Order directs IDFPR, the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, the Illinois Department of Military Affairs, and the Illinois Department of Employment Security to collaborate in matching military career fields with the correlated state licenses, obtaining military training documentation, and assessing military education and training and how it compares to education and training requirements for state licensure. The participating Departments are also charged with identifying areas in which additional training or education is needed so that Illinois educational institutions may develop “bridge courses” to assist Illinois veterans to obtain licensure. “Our military men and women receive some of the best training in a variety of professional fields, it makes sense for our state licensing process to review this training and give the veteran appropriate credit toward his or her civilian-professional license application,” commented Division of Professional Regulation Director Jay Stewart. “This initiative benefits our veterans and also helps our economy get people back to work.” 

 
   
   
 

In an effort to enhance the Department’s efficiency and improve constituent service, IDFPR recently contracted with the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind to provide a staffed calling center. The Chicago Lighthouse is a not-for-profit organization that offers services and employment opportunities for the blind or visually impaired. The IDFPR and Chicago Lighthouse partnership was made possible through an innovative workforce development initiative called the Illinois State Use Program. This program is designed to enable state agencies to contract with not-for-profit organizations to provide long-term employment opportunities to people with disabilities

 
 


The IDFPR –  Division of Professional Regulation (DPR) receives thousands of calls related to licensure matters and consumer complaints, so it’s important for the Department to have a robust system in place to accommodate the many constituent inquiries and requests in a professional, expeditious manner. With the Chicago Lighthouse calling center, IDFPR is able to provide an  enhanced customer experience. Trained operators are fielding calls and callers are able to speak directly with a knowledgeable operator. 

DPR call center operators are available between the hours of 8:00 AM- 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, by calling 1-800-560-6420.

 
   
  Enforcement Actions
 


One of IDFPR’s core functions is to protect the public from unlawful and harmful business practices. IDFPR routinely investigates consumer complaints and vigorously pursues enforcement actions against wrongdoers. Consumer complaints can be made on-line at www.idfpr.com or by calling 1-800-560-6420 or 1-800-532-8785.

Recent Significant Enforcement Actions include:
  • Unlicensed Business Activity - Pinnacle Security is a national company that sells, installs, and monitors home alarm systems in a number of states. Much of its sales activities are conducted in door-to-door contact with consumers. IDFPR charged Pinnacle with using unlicensed sales associates to work in Illinois, permitting employees with criminal histories to conduct door-to-door sales, and engaging in “slamming” or tricking consumers who have home alarm systems into changing their service provider to Pinnacle. IDFPR and Pinnacle entered into a record-setting settlement that requires Pinnacle to stop its unlawful activities in Illinois, bans the company from doing business in Illinois for two years, and fines the company $1 million.

  • Unlawful Funeral Business Practice - After IDFPR discovered that suspended funeral director Harry Carter was continuing to practice despite his suspension, the Department in February 2013 revoked his license. IDFPR soon discovered Carter was still practicing out of the Carter Funeral Chapel which had been shut down by city authorities due to the lack of heat and electricity. IDFPR took this information to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, and in March 2013, Carter was arrested on criminal charges for working as a funeral director without a license. Sheriff’s detectives found numerous cremated remains in the shuttered building. IDFPR arranged for their proper disposition through a member of the Department’s Funeral Director and Embalmer Licensing Board. This case involved the cooperation of seven agencies: IDFPR, the Cook County Sheriff, the Cook County State’s Attorney, the Chicago Department of Buildings, the Cook County Medical Examiner, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Cook County Clerk.

  • Unlicensed Debt Settlement –IDFPR has issued a Cease and Desist Order against World Law Group, an unlicensed debt settlement company. IDFPR took action against World Law after receiving a complaint from a consumer who had a debt judgment entered against her after World Law failed to work with her creditors in settling her debt. The consumer enrolled in a debt settlement program with World Law, which is not licensed, nor authorized to transact business in Illinois, for help with several credit card accounts that she couldn’t pay. World Law helped settle one small account, but has taken $8000 from her bank account over the past 19 months. Unbeknownst to the consumer, one of her creditors sued her and obtained a judgment against her, and her checking account was subsequently frozen. The consumer later lost her job after her employer discovered the judgment against her through the course of an employee background check. IDFPR is working with the Illinois Attorney General on this matter.