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Karl A. Racine
Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia
 

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Attorney General Wins Judgment against Company that Deceived Consumers Seeking Student Debt Relief

Thursday, August 24, 2017
Company Deceptively Marketed Services Provided for Free by the U.S. Department of Education

Contact:
Rob Marus, Communications Director: (202) 724-5646; [email protected]
Marrisa Geller, Public Affairs Specialist: (202) 724-5448; [email protected]


WASHINGTON, D. C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced today that his office won a judgment in Superior Court against Student Aid Center, Inc. and the company’s owners, Ramiro Fernandez-Moris and Damien Alvarez, for unlawfully marketing student debt relief services to District consumers — including services that consumers could get for free from the U.S. Department of Education. The court found that the company misrepresented its services and unlawfully charged fees in advance of providing those services.

The case was filed by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) last year and alleges that consumers paid fees between $600 and $1,000 and received little in return. It will now proceed to a remedies phase, where OAG will seek a permanent injunction preventing the company from misleading consumers regarding its business, refunds for consumers, and monetary penalties. Student Aid Center, Inc. has also been sued by the attorneys general of Florida, Kentucky and Washington state, and by the Federal Trade Commission.

“District students have the highest average student loan debt per borrower in the country, which makes them particularly vulnerable to debt relief scammers,” said Attorney General Karl A. Racine. “We will not tolerate companies that defraud our residents. We are working to hold businesses like this one accountable and deter others like them from targeting our residents in the future.”

In an order finding Student Aid Center, Inc. and its owners liable under the District’s consumer laws, a D.C. Superior Court judge concluded that Student Aid Center made misrepresentations about its services, including misrepresenting that it was affiliated with the federal government. The Court also found that Student Aid Center and its owners unlawfully charged upfront fees for their services, which violates District law.

Student Loan Resources
Students with questions about their student loans should visit OAG’s Student Loan Resource Page. OAG’s Student Loan Resource Page provides District residents with free resources about repayment options and up-to-date information about how to manage student loan debt -- including a targeted one-page education piece on student loan scams. OAG’s Student Loan Resource Page is available at oag.dc.gov/studentloans.

Consumers with complaints against Student Aid Center, about debt-relief scams, or any other consumer complaint can contact OAG’s Office of Consumer Protection through the OAG Consumer Hotline at (202) 442-9828, by sending an e-mail to [email protected], or online using OAG’s Consumer Complaint Form.