The Federal Trade Commission has banned those behind a student loan debt relief scam from providing debt relief services as part of a settlement that the agency announced earlier this week. One of the defendants will also make a monetary payment of $11,500 as part of an overall judgment against all of the defendants in the amount of nearly $25 million, most of which was suspended because of the defendants’ inability to pay.
A copy of the stipulated final judgment in the case of FTC v. Student Advocates Team, Progress Advocates Group, Student Advocates Group, Assurance Solution Services, Bradley Jason Hunt, Sean Quincy Lucero, and Equitable Acceptance Corp., is available by clicking here.
The defendants were accused back in 2019 of charging illegal upfront fees that consumers believed went toward their unpaid student loans, falsely promising that their services would permanently lower or eliminate loan payments and balances, and signing up customers for high-interest loans to pay those fees without making required disclosures.
Along with being banned from offering any debt relief services, the defendants are also prohibited from making any misrepresentations, unsubstantiated claims, engaging in unlawful telemarketing practices, and collecting on any unpaid accounts.
The defendants are also required to mail notices to each of its customers, informing them that the defendants will no longer be collecting payments from the customers, that none of the funds that were collected were paid to the Department of Education, and that they should contact their student loan servicer to determine the status of their loan.