Attorney General Ellison shuts down another fraudulent student-loan debt-settlement company
California-based company offering fraudulent ‘forgiveness’ scheme will pay State over $17K to refund Minnesota customers
AG’s Office has now shut down 14 fraudulent companies in Minnesota, recovered more than $1.5M for consumers
October 11, 2023 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced today that his office has obtained a settlement that requires a California student-loan debt-relief company that illegally collected fees from customers and misrepresented its services to consumers to cease operating in Minnesota and provide full refunds to its Minnesota consumers. The company, Docupros, which is based in San Diego, California, is one of the 52 student-loan debt-relief companies that Attorney General Ellison is investigating for suspected violations of Minnesota law.
Among other things, Docupros is alleged to have falsely promised consumers student-loan forgiveness, when only the federal government can forgive federal student loans. The Attorney General alleges that the company pocketed exorbitant fees to enroll consumers in federal repayment programs that consumers can enroll themselves in for free. It also charged up front fees before performing the promised services, which is illegal under Minnesota law regulating debt-settlement services. Additionally, Docupros was operating without registering as a debt-settlement service provider, as required by Minnesota law.
The settlement, filed in Ramsey County District Court, requires Docupros to immediately pay the State $17,824.68 — the full amount it has collected from Minnesota customers — which the Attorney General’s Office will use to provide full restitution to consumers. The settlement also requires Docupros to cease operating in Minnesota unless and until it registers as a debt-settlement service provider. Attorney General Ellison’s Office alleges in the settlement that Docupros violated Minnesota’s Debt Services Settlement Act, Prevention of Consumer Fraud Act, and Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
“When companies fraudulently get Minnesotans who are already struggling under crushing student-loan debt to pay them money for fake debt ‘forgiveness,’ I will shut them down,” Attorney General Ellison said. “I encourage any Minnesotan who’s been preyed on by an outfit like this to contact my office so we can hold these bad actors accountable.”
The settlement with Docupros marks the 14th time the Minnesota Attorney General’s office has shut down a fraudulent student-loan debt-relief company in Minnesota, following others in April 2016, July 2016, October 2016, February 2018, September 2019, October 2019, April 2020, September 2020, January 2021, April 2021, October 2022, November 2022, and February 2023. This is the first settlement reached since the Attorney General’s Office announced its recent enforcement sweep in September 2023.
In total, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office has recovered and returned more than $1.5 million to Minnesota consumers victimized by fraudulent student-loan debt-settlement companies.
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—which are sometimes unnecessary or inappropriate for the consumers—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.
Attorney General Ellison encourages anyone who has been victimized by Docupros to contact the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office by calling (651) 296-3353 (Metro area) or (800) 657-3787 (Greater Minnesota), or by submitting a complaint form on the Attorney General’s website. Additionally, consumers who signed up with Docupros should expect to hear from the Attorney General’s Office with information about how they can claim their refund.
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.