Justice Paul Feinman

DeRaffele sought to annul a decision by New York state’s Banking Department denying his application for a mortgage loan origination license. The state cross-moved for dismissal. DeRaffele previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy in aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns. He received a permanent certificate of relief from disabilities and a certificate of good conduct from the state Board of Parole. Yet, his application for the license was denied based on the state’s analysis of his criminal history. A letter advised DeRaffele that under both Article 12-E of the Banking Law and the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act he was barred from being a licensed originator as he was convicted of, pleaded guilty, or nolo contendre to a felony during the seven-year period preceding the date of his application. The court noted Banking Law §599-e provided that despite any other law, no mortgage loan origination license would be issued unless a finding was made the applicant was pardoned from any prior conviction. As DeRaffele was not pardoned, the superintendent had no discretion to disregard his conviction, requiring denial of the application. Thus, the state’s decision was not arbitrary and the application was denied.