Attorney General Ellison opens investigation into 52 student-loan debt-relief companies

Suspected of violating consumer-protection laws and not registering as required by law

AG also issues new guidance about upcoming return to repayment for federal student-loan borrowers, warns of ‘repayment’ scams

September 6, 2023 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced today that his Office has opened investigations into 52 student-loan debt-relief companies suspected of violating Minnesota law. Many of these companies are headquartered in California, and they appear to offer debt-settlement services to consumers without registering as required by Minnesota law. The companies are also suspected of violating consumer-protection laws by misrepresenting their fees and services and falsely promising student-loan forgiveness, which only the federal government can offer. The Attorney General’s Office sent letters to each of the 52 companies requesting information on the companies’ operations in Minnesota. A complete list of the companies suspected of violating Minnesota law in this enforcement sweep is at the end of this release. 

This action follows more than a dozen enforcement actions the Attorney General’s Office has taken to shut down fraudulent student-loan debt-relief companies in April 2016, July 2016, October 2016, February 2018, September 2019October 2019April 2020September 2020January 2021April 2021October 2022November 2022, and February 2023. The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office has recovered and returned millions of dollars to Minnesota consumers that fraudulent student-loan debt-relief companies have victimized. 

“Minnesotans just want to be able to afford their lives, and the cost of student loans that too many borrowers have to take out is already too high. The fact that fraudsters prey on borrowers by charging exorbitant fees and making promises they can’t deliver on is offensive. We’ve held companies like this accountable before and we’re doing it again,” Attorney General Ellison said. “I encourage any Minnesotan who’s been preyed upon by a company promising to help them forgive their student loans to contact my office so we can hold that company accountable.” 

The Attorney General’s Office worked with the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid to identify many of the companies. 

"We are grateful for our strong partnership with Attorney General Ellison and his team,” said Federal Student Aid (FSA) Chief Operating Officer Richard Cordray. “We will continue to fight debt-relief companies that scam hardworking individuals in The North Star State and across the country. I join the Attorney General in urging federal student loan borrowers in Minnesota to contact his office for assistance.” 

People who want to report fraudulent behavior by or other experiences with student-loan debt-relief companies may contact Attorney General Ellison’s office by calling (651) 296-3353 (Metro area) or (800) 657-3787 (Greater Minnesota), by completing a Consumer Assistance Request Form online, or by writing the Office at 445 Minnesota St., Suite 1400, Saint Paul MN 55101

Attorney General Ellison offers guidance on return to repayment, how to spot a scam 

Attorney General Ellison has also issued new guidance so Minnesotans can understand their rights and obligations as student loan payments resume for federal student loans this fall. This new guidance, in the form of an FAQ, joins other resources for student-loan borrowers on the Attorney General’s website

More than three years after student-loan payments were paused, interest on student loans began accruing again on September 1, 2023, with first payments due in October. This means that if you have student loans and are not in school (or did not leave school within the last six months), you will receive notice from the U.S. Department of Education with your payment amount at least 21 days before your payment due date. 

As the end of the student-loan payment pause nears, Attorney General Ellison wants borrowers to be well-informed about the details of their loans and take precautions to avoid bad actors who may take advantage of borrowers. 

“The return to repayment on federal student loans will create challenges for many Minnesotans and their families who will now have a large new monthly expense,” said Attorney General Ellison. “Making things worse, bad actors will seek to take advantage of borrowers' uncertainty and financial insecurities. I’ve issued this guidance because I want to make sure all Minnesota borrowers know their rights and are on the lookout for scams as we approach the resumption of student-loan payments.”  

The FAQ includes guidance about red flags that borrowers may encounter from potential student-loan scammers. Those red flags include:  

“Borrowers should never pay for help with their federal student loans,” said FSA Chief Cordray. “Our servicers provide free assistance with all aspects of loan repayment, such as changing repayment plans, consolidating loans, and helping borrowers understand whether they are eligible for any loan forgiveness programs.” 

List of student-loan debt-relief companies targeted in enforcement sweep 

Below is the list of the 52 student-loan debt-relief companies that Attorney General Ellison’s Office is targeting in this enforcement sweep.  

  1. 77 Elite LLC 
  2. ABS (A Better Solution) Student Loans 
  3. Allied Enrollment Centers LLC 
  4. Allied Financial Services 
  5. Alum Financial LLC, aka Grads Financial 
  6. Alumni Help Center 
  7. Alumni Support Center 
  8. American Doc Prep, Inc. 
  9. American Processing Support 
  10. Amerifed Doc Prep, LLC 
  11. Certified Enrollment Center 
  12. Client Processing Services 
  13. Cornerstone Doc Pre 
  14. Criner Financial Group LLC 
  15. Debt Relief Assistance Plus 
  16. Documents Done Right 
  17. Docupros, aka United Specialists 
  18. Education Financial 
  19. ENM Consulting Services LLC 
  20. Fed Pro, aka Fed Help LLC 
  21. Federal Document Assistance Center LLC 
  22. Federal Document Preparation Services LLC 
  23. Federal Student Loan Doc Prep LLC 
  24. Financial Student Services LLC 
  25. First Fidelity Services LLC, aka Mabak Enterprises LLC 
  26. Freedom Financial Aid 
  27. Graduate Doc Center 
  28. Liberty Student Loan Forgiveness 
  29. Loan Forgiveness Enrollment Center 
  30. Marketing Services 
  31. National Budget Planners of South Florida, Inc. 
  32. National Debt Education Relief 
  33. National Debt Relief LLC 
  34. National Student Loan Relief, aka My Payment Help Center LLC 
  35. Network 46, Inc. 
  36. Processing Direct, aka Student Loan Processing Direct 
  37. Riverwalk Financial Corporation 
  38. Skyway Financial Group 
  39. SL Finance 
  40. Student Advisors 
  41. Student Loan & Savings, aka CT Financial Services 
  42. Student Loan Doc 
  43. Student Loan Financial Assistance LLC, aka NextStep Financial Debt Settlement LLC 
  44. Student Prep Center, aka Common Key 
  45. Student Renew LLC 
  46. Students Service Center 
  47. Unified Document Services LLC 
  48. United Students of America 
  49. US Debt Relief 
  50. U.S. Financial, aka Graduate Resource Network 
  51. US Processing Solutions, aka TWZII, Inc. 
  52. USA Student Debt Relief