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The Federal Trade Commission won a $2.3 million default judgment against Student Loan Help Direct, affiliated companies and owners in 2016 for defrauding student loan borrowers.
The company charged illegal fees between $500 and $800 and promised to lower borrowers’ monthly loan payments, secure debt forgiveness or lift wage garnishments and tax liens, the FTC alleged in its federal suit.
The FTC found the company often did none of those things and failed to refund customers’ money. In some instances, the company entered into forbearance agreements with lenders on behalf of consumers without consumers’ permission, subjecting them unknowingly to further interest payments, the FTC and the default judgment said.
The company also falsely suggested to borrowers that it was affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education, the judgment said.
Enforcement actions: In addition to the $2.3 million penalty imposed by a federal judge, the court banned the company and its owners from advertising, promoting or selling debt-relief products.
What the company claims to provide: Lowered monthly payments on student loans, loan forgiveness assistance and help resolving wage garnishments and tax liens
Based: Los Angeles
Management: Tobias West, aka Tobey West, Toby West and Eric West, owner; Komal West, chief operating officer
Source: Federal Trade Commission; U.S. District Court, California