WHEELING -The West Virginia Division of Financial Institutions has ordered A Plus Family Mortgage of Wheeling to close its doors.
The agency issued a cease and desist order to Mark Busack, owner of the Bethany Pike business, after an investigation revealed what the division termed as multiple business-related violations.
Among those alleged violations were unauthorized charges on a borrower's credit cards to That's Italian Specialty Wheeling, a business owned by Busack, totaling more than $34,000.
But Busack said he already had begun taking steps to close A Plus Family Mortgage before the state intervened. He added that he had made a full refund to the mortgage customer in question the same day the customer requested it.
In addition to the cease and desist order, which was signed by Division of Financial Institutions Commissioner Sara M. Cline, the state agency revoked Busack's mortgage brokerage license and levied a $48,500 civil penalty against him. Busack can appeal the division's findings. He said he has no plans to close his catering business or the restaurant.
Busack on Wednesday said he contacted the state prior to the cease and desist order being issued and declared his intention to close up shop. He said he made that decision because he was taking care of sick family members, he said, and wanted to "back away from working seven days a week."
"I told them I was surrendering my license because I was getting out of the mortgage business," Busack told the News-Register. "As a result, they sent people up to inspect my books and that is when they found the errors. ... "We had refunded that money before the state came in the door. ... The consumer decided not to go through with the transaction, informed us by letter that he wanted to stop the transaction. We sent checks out by overnight courier that day. They received them the next day and he cashed them," Busack claimed.
Busack said the state agency, formerly known as the West Virginia Division of Banking, had not examined his books since 2005.
"They are supposed to be here once every two years," he said.
Busack said he is licensed to broker mortgages in West Virginia and Ohio and he intends to get out of the business in both states.
According to the order, "the agency initiated the investigation based on a series of complaints received from consumers and from other interested parties alleging potential fraud and other dishonest mortgage lending and broker activities on the part of Busack. ... The investigation has revealed a pattern and practice of a number of deceptive and dishonest activities with regard to the brokering of residential mortgage loans."
The division cited several alleged West Virginia Code violations dealing with mortgage laws and the Consumer Credit Protection Act.
The order noted that "on June 17, 2013, the borrower applied to A Plus Family Mortgage and Busack for a $40,000 loan to purchase a home in Wheeling. According to the application, the purchase price of the house was $50,000 with estimated closing costs of $3,433.75 and estimated pre-paid items totaling $965.
"Borrower subsequently discovered that between June 18 and July 14, his Discover credit card had 12 charges against it totaling $16,327.50 from That's Italian Specialty Wheeling, a company that is owned by Busack. Borrower also discovered that between June 24 and July 8, his Chase Visa card had 20 charges against it from That's Italian Specialty Wheeling totaling $17,876.50."
According to the cease and desist order, the charges imposed on the borrower's credit cards were neither authorized by the borrower nor disclosed to the borrower by Busack.
"The division's investigation has revealed a pattern and practice of fraudulent, deceptive and misleading representations on the part of Busack and a pattern and practice of making unauthorized, undisclosed, excessive and legally prohibited charges on the credit cards of a number of his mortgage loan clients," Cline wrote in the order.
In addition to the license revocation and civil penalty, Busack is ordered to reimburse any and all unauthorized or undisclosed credit card charges to consumers with whom Busack has done business.
Ohio County Prosecutor Scott Smith declined to comment Wednesday if Busack will face possible criminal charges.