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Wednesday, January 17 News

Business Briefs: Tech repair shop opens, SEC sues Westport investor...

The technology repair shop uBreakiFix opened a fourth Connecticut location at 1761 Post Road E. in Westport.

Owner Daniel Lew has existing uBreakiFix stores in Norwalk and Darien, with plans to open two more.

The store offers repair services for cracked screens, water damage, software issues and other technical problems, with uBreakiFix having nearly 350 franchised locations nationally, with 700 more in development.

AssuredPartners acquired Sachs Walsh Insurance in Westport, an agency founded in 1978 which will continue to be led by Teri Walsh, a past president of the Connecticut Professional Insurance Agents trade association.

Sachs Walsh has a staff of nine and annual revenue of $2.9 million, placing policies with several companies including AIG, Chubb, Farmers, MetLife, Progressive, The Hartford and Travelers.

AssuredPartners is based in Lake Mary, Fla. north of Orlando, with the firm having acquired 190 insurance brokerage and employee benefits firms since its 2011 formation, in Connecticut to include entities in Torrington, Lakeville and Rocky Hill.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued a Westport financial firm and its CEO, claiming clients were hit with nearly $800,000 in extra hidden fees and other charges on risky investments that resulted in losses of $1.2 million.

Westport Capital Markets has its office at 257 Riverside Ave. in Westport and is run by Christopher McClure, with the firm operating as an investment broker-dealer both for individuals and insitutional investors.

McClure, a Fairfield resident, forwarded a Hearst Connecticut Media query to an attorney who stated McClure and his company will defend themselves against the SEC accusation.

According to the SEC, Westport Capital Markets generated hidden mark-ups by selling securities to client accounts from a proprietary brokerage account, with federal law requiring investment advisors to obtain client consent for such transactions. The SEC claims that Westport Capital Markets also pocketed mutual fund distribution fees without adequate disclosure to clients.

The SEC analyzed transactions that generated $1.7 million in advisory fees for Westport Capital Markets between the 2012 and 2015 fiscal years.

Tina Anastasia, of Westport, has been promoted and made partner at Mark P. Finlay Interiors, LLC. In her role as director of interior design, Anastasia has led the charge of dozens of projects on behalf the MPF brand.

Native to Florida, Anastasia joined Fairfield-based MPF Interiors in 2013.

The American Job Center Southwest’s (formerly known as CTWorks) Career Coach will be at Westport Town Hall on Jan. 11, and will offer a beginner’s class in Microsoft PowerPoint 2013 from 10 a.m. to noon, followed by an intermediate class in PowerPoint 2013 from 1 to 3 p.m. The bus is equipped with wireless computer labs offering free computer classes to residents in the greater Norwalk area.

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To register, contact the Westport Department of Human Services at 203-341-1050 or email humansrv@westportct.gov.

Westport-based PetVet Care Centers is acquiring four animal hospitals as a result of a federally-mandated sale of a dozen nationally by Mars to meet antitrust requirements for its planned $9.1 billion acquisition of VCA.

PetVet is picking up vet clinics in Gaithersburg, Md., Vienna, Va., Vancouver, Wash. and Tigard, Ore., with financial terms not disclosed immediately. In June under CEO Gino Volpacchio, Pet Vet Care Centers secured $675 million in funding to acquire vet clinics, with the company owning five in Connecticut including South Wilton Veterinary Clinic and Newtown Veterinary Specialists.

In southwestern Connecticut, VCA has clinics in Danbury, Norwalk, Stamford, Milford and Shelton.

Connecticut launched a new tax amnesty program called CT Fresh Start, with the goal of recouping $85 million in back taxes owed by residents and businesses.

Under the program that runs through November 2018, the state Department of Revenue Services will waive penalties and reduce interest owed by half, with details online at www.makeafreshstartct.com or by calling 1-877-729-6691.

Local property taxes are not included in the amnesty program.

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