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Department of Banking and Securities Team Honored with 2023 Governor’s Awards for Excellence

06/21/2024

Harrisburg, PA - At a ceremony earlier this week, Governor Josh Shapiro presented a group of employees from the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities (DoBS) with the 2023 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in recognition of their efforts to assist consumers whose money orders were valueless upon deposit.

The honorees are:

  • Rosemarie Caligiuri, Consumer Services Specialist;
  • Quiana Davis, Consumer Services Specialist;
  • Theresa Jones, Financial Institution Enforcement Administrator;
  • Lynne Rupp, Senior Consumer Services Specialist;
  • Lisa Shymanski, Consumer Services Chief; and
  • Jonathan Smith, Consumer Services Specialist.

“I'm thrilled that members of our DoBS team have been recognized with this prestigious award,” said DoBS Secretary Wendy Spicher. “It was through their quick and effective efforts that they were successful in reducing harm to consumers and abating financial losses tied to the unprecedented and unfunded money orders."

On February 1, 2023, DoBS revoked the license of a Pennsylvania-licensed money transmitter and its owners because the department found that they violated several provisions of the Money Transmitter Act by selling $1.4 million dollars in money orders to thousands of individuals without the money to fund them, making the money orders valueless upon deposit.

A money order allows for access to a more protected form of payment, particularly for those consumers who are unbanked in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, this violation had a wide-spread and highly negative impact on consumers who purchased the money orders to pay their monthly bills, rent, loan payments, etc.

The department, through its Consumer Services and Non-Depository staffs, immediately took action and developed a plan to expedite getting refunds for eligible consumers through the business’ money transmitter surety bond. Customers were directed to file a complaint with the department online, by fax, or mail. The department also deployed a massive outreach campaign to reach affected consumers to make them aware of the situation. The campaign included press releases, social media, emails, and a special postcard mailing within a geographic area of the failed business.

DoBS staff also coordinated with state agencies including Insurance, Transportation, and the Public Utility Commission to assist affected consumers impacted by penalties or other charges being levied against them for submitting unfunded money orders which could cause consumer eviction, child support enforcement/contempt, and passport/VISA service interruption, among other issues.

“Our employees are truly deserving of this honor because they meticulously investigated the situation, noted irregularities, and implemented swift corrective action – all to protect consumers,” added Spicher. 

The Governor’s Awards for Excellence recognize exemplary job performance or service that reflects initiative, leadership, innovation, and increased efficiency. The DoBS team was among 56 employees from 12 state agencies honored by Governor Shapiro.

MEDIA CONTACT: TJ Creedon - DoBSComm@PA.gov

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