The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 11 states have announced a first of its kind federal-state law enforcement initiative that targets deceptive student loan debt relief scams. The nationwide crackdown includes 36 actions by the FTC and state attorneys general against scammers who allegedly took more than $95 million in illegal upfront fees from struggling student loan borrowers over the years.
It is alleged in these actions that the defendants charged consumers illegal upfront fees, falsely promised to help reduce or forgive student loan debt and pretended to be affiliated with the government or loan servicers, a violation of the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and the FTC Act.
Operation Game of Loans also includes law enforcement actions by Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and the District of Columbia. Here is a recent case filed in Florida:
Student Debt Doctor (SDD): In an action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the FTC charged that Fort Lauderdale-based SDD and its owner, Gary Brent White, Jr., collected at least $7 million from consumers struggling to pay student loan debt. According to the complaint, the defendants charged illegal upfront fees of $750 or more. Using social media, e-mail, and telemarketing, SDD promoted its services across the United States, in English and Spanish. SDD falsely promised loan forgiveness often in as little as five years or less, and told consumers not to communicate with their loan servicers. The defendants also fabricated income, unemployment status, and family size information on relief applications in order to qualify borrowers for eliminated or reduced monthly payments. The court entered a temporary restraining order (TRO) on October 3, 2017.
Click here to learn more about the five new cases filed against 30 defendants as part of Operation Game of Loans.
For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.