2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 10 - COMMERCE AND TRADE
CHAPTER 14 - CEMETERY AND FUNERAL SERVICES
§ 10-14-19 - Enforcement of article; civil penalties
. Enforcement of article; civil penalties
(a) Whenever it may appear to the Secretary of State that any person has engaged in, or is engaging in, or is about to engage in any act or practice or transaction which is prohibited by this chapter or by any rule, regulation, or order of the Secretary of State promulgated or issued pursuant to any Code section of this chapter or which is declared to be unlawful under this chapter, the Secretary of State may, at his or her discretion, act under any or all of the following paragraphs:
(1) Issue an order, if he or she deems it to be appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of consumers, prohibiting such person from continuing such act, practice, or transaction, subject to the right of such person to a hearing as provided in Code Section 10-14-23
(2) Apply to any superior court of competent jurisdiction in this state for an injunction restraining such person and such person's agents, employees, partners, officers, and directors from continuing such act, practice, or transaction or engaging therein or doing any acts in furtherance thereof, and for appointment of a receiver or an auditor and such other and further relief as the facts may warrant; or
(3) Transmit such evidence as may be available concerning such act, practice, or transaction to any district attorney or to the Attorney General, who may, at his or her individual discretion, institute the necessary criminal proceedings.
(b) In any proceedings for an injunction, the Secretary of State may apply for and be entitled to have issued the court's subpoena requiring the appearance forthwith of any defendant and its agents, employees, partners, officers, or directors, and the production of such documents, books, and records as may appear necessary for the hearing upon the petition for an injunction. Upon proof of any of the offenses described in this Code section, the court may grant such injunction and appoint a receiver or an auditor and issue such other orders for the protection of the public as the facts may warrant.
(c) In any criminal proceeding, either the district attorney or the Attorney General, or both, may apply for and be entitled to have issued the court's subpoena requiring the appearance forthwith of any defendant or its agents, employees, partners, officers, or directors and the production of such documents, books, and records as may appear necessary for the prosecution of such criminal proceedings.
(d) In any civil proceeding brought under this Code section, if the Secretary of State shall establish that a perpetual care trust fund or preneed escrow account has not been established and maintained as required, the assets of the cemetery, cemetery company, or preneed dealer may be seized and sold by the state under orders of the court to the extent necessary to provide said perpetual care trust fund or preneed escrow account and set up the same. In addition, where the registration has been revoked, the whole company property may be ordered sold after the perpetual care trust fund and preneed escrow account have been established so that the purchaser of the cemetery may continue to operate the same and maintain it under the terms of this chapter.
(e) The Secretary of State shall have the authority to petition a court of competent jurisdiction to remove a trustee or escrow agent for violation of the provisions of this chapter, the rules and regulations promulgated under this chapter, or for other unlawful acts and practices.
(f) In addition to any other penalties that may be imposed, any person willfully violating any provisions of Code Section 10-14-17
or of Code Section 10-14-11
or any rule, regulation, or order of the Secretary of State made pursuant to Code Section 10-14-17
, or 10-14-11
shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000.00 for a single violation and not exceeding $100,000.00 for multiple violations in a single proceeding or a series of related proceedings. The Secretary of State shall be authorized in his or her discretion to decline to impose a penalty or to impose any lesser penalty that he or she may deem to be sufficient and appropriate in any particular case. The amount of such penalty may be collected by the Secretary of State in the same manner that money judgments are now enforced in the superior courts of this state, except that the order or finding of the Secretary of State as to such penalty may be appealed according to the provisions of Code Section 10-14-22
Graham Syfert - Jacksonville Lawyer