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Borrower Beware: Student Loan Group

Loans, Student Loans

This company is on the NerdWallet Student Loan Watch List. The list flags student-loan businesses and individuals hit by enforcement actions, court judgments or liens, or bad ratings from the Better Business Bureau. Learn more in Who Gets Listed. Have you dealt with this business, or encountered a suspicious student-loan company that NerdWallet public interest reporters should investigate? Let us know at watchlist@nerdwallet.com.

 

Student Loan Group was among several affiliated companies that agreed to pay fines and refund customers in North Carolina, Oregon and Washington over alleged consumer-law and debt-collection violations.

The three states barred most or all of the companies from offering consolidation services for student loan debt.

The affiliated companies operated under a variety of names, including Student Loan Service Managers; SLS Managers; D.O.R.M. Group Inc.; Maximum Tech Corp., doing business as Rubik Payment Solutions; Heritage Asset Management, doing business as National Secure Processing; and Tribune Management Inc., doing business as Student Loan Group.

In October 2017, National Secure Processing and Student Loan Service Managers were 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.”

Enforcement actions:

In North Carolina:

As part of a 2017 court ordered consent judgment with the state attorney general’s office, the web of companies agreed to pay $377,000, most of it as restitution to 378 North Carolina residents. As much as $25,000 of the total could be used to cover attorneys’ fees.

The settlement stemmed from a 2016 lawsuit, in which North Carolina’s attorney general accused the companies of charging illegal upfront fees; retaining funds customers thought were going to pay down their student loan debt; enrolling customers in contracts that require service payments for five to 25 years; and locking customers out of their accounts and posing as the consumers.

The state’s suit also alleged that owners formed a series of shell corporations to obfuscate the people and entities behind the operation.

In the consent judgment signed by a Wake County Superior Court judge, the companies and their directors agreed to the settlement to end litigation, and did not admit violating laws in North Carolina or elsewhere.

In Oregon:

In 2017 Student Loan Service Managers and three of the other companies agreed under pressure from the Oregon attorney general to pay more than $150,000 in restitution to customers.

The companies also agreed to pay the Oregon Department of Justice $14,000 as part of an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance filed in Marion County Circuit Court. In the assurance the companies, which were banned from doing business in Oregon, did not admit to violating laws.

In Washington state:

Washington’s attorney general sued the company in 2016, alleging that it charged more than $25 upfront and more than 15% of loan payments; both practices are against state law.

Washington authorities also alleged that the company advertised to consumers that it would help consolidate and eliminate their debt, when in fact it enrolled customers in free U.S. Education Department student-loan consolidation and forgiveness programs.

The company agreed to pay approximately $80,000 in restitution to consumers and $5,000 in attorneys’ fees as part of a 2016 judgment and consent decree filed in King County Superior Court to settle the suit.

The company admitted to no wrongdoing.

What the company claims to provide: Student loan consolidation and debt relief

Websites: http://www.slsmanagers.com; http://www.theslgroup.com; http://www.nsprocessing.com; https://www.facebook.com/SLS-Managers-176087299261529/

Based: Laguna Hills and Aliso Viejo, California

Management: Directors are Mazen A. Radwan, Rima A. Radwan and Dean P. Robbins, according to North Carolina’s judgment

Sources: North Carolina attorney general; Washington attorney general; Wake County Superior Court, North Carolina; King County Superior Court, Washington; Marion County Circuit Court, Oregon; California business filings; Texas business filings