AG Ellison shuts down fraudulent student-loan debt-settlement company in Minnesota
California-based company pocketed exorbitant fees for fraudulent ‘forgiveness’ scheme; will also pay $50K to refund Minnesota customers
ST. PAUL, M.N. (Valley News Live) - Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Thursday that his office has obtained a settlement, requiring a California student-loan debt-relief company to provide refunds to its Minnesota customers and cease operating.
This after the company collected fees from customers and misrepresented its services.
Express Enrollment, LLC, doing business as SLFD Processing — a company based in Santa Ana, California — is alleged to have falsely promised consumers student-loan forgiveness, when only the federal government can forgive federal student loans.
In reality, the Attorney General alleges that all the company did was enroll consumers in federal repayment programs that consumers can enroll themselves in for free, then pocketed exorbitant fees for doing so.
It also collected its fees up front before performing the promised services, which is illegal under Minnesota law regulating debt-settlement services. Additionally, SLFD Processing was operating without registering as a debt-settlement service provider, as required by Minnesota law.
The settlement, filed in Ramsey County District Court, requires SLFD Processing to immediately pay the State $50,000, which the Attorney General’s Office will use to provide restitution to consumers.
The settlement also requires SLFD Processing to cease operating in Minnesota unless and until it registers as a debt-settlement service provider.
“Minnesotans take out student loans in good faith so they can get educations that will help them afford their lives. We’re showing once again that when companies take advantage of that good faith to rip off Minnesotans, we will come after them,” Attorney General Ellison said. “I encourage any Minnesotan who’s been preyed upon by this company or others like it to contact my office so we can hold these bad actors accountable.”
Student-loan debt-relief companies often charge consumers hundreds or thousands of dollars of illegal upfront fees to enroll them in repayment plans or consolidation loans that all eligible federal student-loan borrowers can apply for on their own for free through the United States Department of Education.
Often, these companies deceive consumers into believing that the fees will go toward paying down the consumers’ student-loan debt, when the companies actually pocket the fees.
This settlement marks the eleventh time the Minnesota Attorney General’s office has shut down a fraudulent student-loan debt-relief company in Minnesota.
Attorney General Ellison encourages anyone who has been victimized by SLFD Processing to contact his office by calling (651) 296-3353 or (800) 657-3787, or by submitting a complaint form on the Attorney General’s website at https://www.ag.state.mn.us/office/Forms/ConsumerAssistanceRequest.asp.
The Attorney General’s Office encourages borrowers to visit its website for additional information on how to avoid student-loan scams, including a publication entitled Student Loan Assistance Companies that Charge High Fees for What You Can Do for Free.
Student-loan borrowers may access the United States Department of Education’s website — https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/repayment/plans — for additional information about federal student-loan repayment programs available to all eligible borrowers for free
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