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Federal and state authorities accused Student Aid Center and its executives of repeated violations of consumer protection laws and moved to close the company.
A lawsuit filed in 2016 by the Federal Trade Commission and the state of Florida charged that the Florida company was an “unlawful debt relief enterprise that preyed on consumers’ anxiety about student loan debt by falsely promising to reduce or eliminate that debt.”
Student Aid Center filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in 2016, court records show.
In October 2017, Student Aid Center was included in a publicized crackdown on student debt relief fraud by the Federal Trade Commission and 12 attorneys general — a joint enforcement effort called “Operation Game of Loans.”
The FTC and Florida accused the company of charging borrowers as much as $1,500 to enroll in loan repayment and consolidation programs the government offers for free. The lawsuit alleged that the company and its managers deprived thousands of consumers nationwide of millions of dollars and put them further into debt. Florida officials sought court permission to levy fines of as much as $15,000 per transaction.
- Falsely advertising and marketing student debt-relief services, and charging upfront fees
- “Baiting and enticing” borrowers to speak with its sales agents by promising student loan forgiveness and using misleading sales pitches to get borrowers to enroll in consolidation or repayment plans
- Placing borrowers’ loans in forbearance, often without their knowledge or consent, while consumers made monthly payments to the company. Failing to disclose that interest on consumers’ loans continued to accrue while in forbearance.
In 2015, a Minnesota court ordered Student Aid Center to cease doing business with its residents.
What the company claims to provide: Fast student loan forgiveness
Based: Doral, Florida
Management: Ramiro R. Fernandez-Moris and Damien Alvarez, both listed as president in Florida business filings.
Sources: Federal Trade Commission; states of Minnesota, Florida, Washington; District of Columbia