Commissioner Mike Pieciak will leave the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation (DFR) next month to pursue other opportunities, Gov. Phil Scott announced Wednesday.
Commissioner Pieciak was appointed to lead the consumer watchdog agency by Governor Scott in January 2017. He joined DFR in 2014 as Deputy Commissioner of the Securities Division, appointed by Governor Peter Shumlin.
Pieciak advocated for consumers and worked to strengthen the state’s financial services industry. Under his leadership, DFR recouped over $13 million for Vermonters, including a record $1.8 million settlement with a South Carolina insurance company for selling unapproved and inadequate health insurance policies to Vermont college students.
Pieciak also expanded the Department’s supervision of online securities trading and cryptocurrency platforms during his tenure. Earlier this year, a DFR probe of the digital-asset company BlockFi led to a multi-state $100 million settlement.
With the onset of the pandemic, Governor Scott asked Commissioner Pieciak and DFR to lead the State’s COVID-19 modeling and he has appeared regularly at COVID press briefings. DFR also required health insurers to cover the cost of testing and treatment for COVID-19 and directed premium relief of over $25 million back to Vermonters. He led a volunteer team of 20 DFR employees who administered $32 million of COVID hazard pay grants to 20,000 front-line Vermont workers. The program was created and administered in just over 10 weeks during the first year of the pandemic.
In 2019, DFR explicitly prohibited insurers from using age to deny gender-affirming care to Vermont youth. Pieciak also instituted a series of initiatives to address senior financial abuse, including enhanced penalties and establishing a victim restitution fund with increased awards for vulnerable Vermonters who have been targeted by investment scammers.
In addition to his duties at DFR, in 2018 Pieciak was elected president of the North American Securities Administrators Association, the oldest international organization devoted to investor protection, and served a five-year term on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee in Washington, D.C.
Deputy Commissioner Kevin Gaffney will serve as interim commissioner following Commissioner Pieciak’s departure on May 16.
Pieciak took a lead role in the state’s investigation against the Northeast Kingdom EB-5 fraudsters. In 2015, while working for the Shumlin administration, he chose to not tell EB-5 investors in a Burke hotel project despites suspicions already being raised about the developers. Pieciak addresses these concerns in a November, 2021 VPR interview: he said the hotel project was progressing well, despite looming problems with the developers, so he made a tough but – he believes – correct call.
On August 11, 2021, when Jay Peak owner Bill Stenger pleaded guilty for his role, Pieciak issued the following statement: “The Jay Peak developers, including Mr. Stenger, routinely provided the State of Vermont false, misleading, and fraudulent information throughout the course of our dealings. I am pleased Mr. Stenger has taken responsibility for similar deceptive statements to the U.S. government. Mr. Stenger’s guilty plea helps bring accountability and closure to the Northeast Kingdom, the investors, and all those impacted by the EB-5 fraud.”
Categories: State Government