WASHINGTON, (WWLP)–The defendants in two student loan debt relief cases have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission claims that they charged consumers illegal upfront fees and falsely promised to help reduce or forgive student loan debt burdens.
The settlements with Strategic Student Solutions and Bloom Law Group are part of a coordinated federal-state law enforcement initiative targeting deceptive student loan debt relief scam announced by the FTC in October 2017, called Operation Game of Loans.
The FTC has obtained a settlement with an unlawful debt relief and credit repair operation for violating the FTC Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the Credit Repair Organizations Act after they allegedly bilked millions of dollars from consumers by falsely promising to reduce or eliminate their student loan debt and offering them non-existent credit repair services. The settlement also resolves the FTC’s action against relief defendant DG Investment Properties LLC.
According to the complaint, individual defendant Dave Green and his companies – Strategic Student Solutions LLC, Strategic Credit Solutions LLC, Strategic Debt Solutions LLC, Strategic Doc Prep Solutions LLC, Student Relief Center LLC, and Credit Relief Center LLC – preyed on consumers with student loan debt by falsely promising to reduce their debt or payments through enrollment in student loan forgiveness or other programs. The defendants also falsely promised to apply monthly payments to consumers’ student loans and to improve credit scores and histories in addition to making other false claims and charging unlawful advance fees.
The defendants are permanently banned from debt relief and credit repair activities and from making misrepresentations or unsubstantiated claims related to financial or any other products or services. In addition, the order includes a monetary judgment of more than $17 million. After the defendants turn over substantially all of their assets, worth more than $4 million, the judgment will be partially suspended due to their inability to pay the full judgment.
The Federal Trade Commission is mailing 20,988 checks, averaging $148 each, totaling more than $3.1 million to consumers who were victims of these schemes.