The Federal Trade Commission is sending refunds totaling more than $223,000 to people who lost money to a student loan and mortgage debt relief operation.
The FTC alleged that A1 DocPrep Inc., Streamlined Marketing, and their owner, Horman Ardalan falsely claimed to be from the Department of Education, and promised to reduce borrowers’ monthly payments or forgive their student loans in exchange for illegal upfront fees, according to the FTC’s September 2017 complaint. The FTC also alleged the defendants targeted distressed homeowners by making false promises that they would provide mortgage relief and prevent foreclosure.
The refunds stem from settlements the defendants reached with the FTC that also ban them from debt relief and telemarketing activities and prohibits them from making misrepresentations or unsubstantiated claims related to other financial products or services.
The FTC is mailing 136 checks to consumers who previously filed a complaint with law enforcement. The checks average $1,641 each. People who receive checks should deposit or cash their checks within 90 days, as indicated on the check. Recipients who have questions about their checks can call the refund administrator, Analytics, at 844-695-0454. The FTC never requires people to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check.
The FTC’s interactive dashboards for refund data provide a state-by-state breakdown of FTC refunds. In 2020, FTC actions led to more than $483 million in refunds to consumers across the country, but recently the United States Supreme Court ruled the FTC lacks authority under Section 13(b) to seek monetary relief in federal court going forward. The Commission has urged Congress to restore the FTC’s ability to get money back for consumers.