Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that his office had successfully shut down a California company accused of running an illegal student loan cancellation program that benefited many Pennsylvanians struggling with loan debts students.
“The settlement my office negotiated today ensures that this company will not be able to rip off hardworking Pennsylvanians struggling to repay their student loans. Under the agreement, the company must cease operations in Pennsylvania and return $ 74,000 to consumers in Pennsylvania, ”said AG Shapiro. “Consumers should remember: only scammers promise quick loan forgiveness. Consumers should never pay an upfront fee for help. If you think you’ve been scammed I want to hear from you.
A settlement was reached in the form of voluntary compliance assurance (CVA) with United Holdings Group, LLC, which operates as the “Student Education Center (SEC)”. The agreement requires the company to cease operations in Pennsylvania, reimburse $ 74,000 in fees the Pennsylvanians paid to the company, and pay an additional $ 50,000 in fees and penalties.
Any student who has paid this company for student loan services can file a complaint at www.attorneygeneral.gov.
According to the Commonwealth Survey, the SEC made solicitation phone calls to consumers in Pennsylvania and offered its services to reduce or eliminate their student loan debt; used false advertising tactics on its website; and posted fraudulent reviews – supposedly from customers across the country – on the Better Business Bureau website.
The SEC website stated that once a consumer was approved they were “all set up with the new server” when in fact SEC was not a server and usually did not change the server. of the borrower. The AVC also alleges that the SEC tricked more than 200 consumers into paying hundreds to thousands of dollars in fees to enroll them in income-driven plans (“IDRs”), to which enrollment is free.
“The SEC took $ 4000 from me. I’m a single mom and every little bit of money matters to us, ”said Carrie Airhart, a Pennsylvanian affected by the SEC fraud. “I was contacted by an investigator, and they identified that there was an issue with the account because my demographic information had changed. The change caused me to not receive any calls or emails. When I worked with the investigator, I found out the company was fraudulent and called the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office and they helped me recover the entire investment. They made the process really transparent to me.
Pennsylvanians who need help with IDR or other loan repayment programs can get free help from Summer, a social enterprise that Pennsylvania has previously partnered with to provide free student loan assistance to. all Pennsylvania residents during the COVID-19 emergency. Companies that promise to reduce student loan payments are susceptible to scams.
The voluntary compliance assurance was filed with the Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas by Deputy Attorney General Merna T. Hoffman. The case stems from a referral from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Aid Agency.