The FTC alleged that Arete Financial Group scammed more than 37,800 students into making illegal, upfront payments in hopes of reducing the debt, by pretending to be affiliated with the US Dept of Education. “In reality, the scammers pocketed customers payment and never provided the promised relief” the FTC said.
In 2019, the FTC obtained a temporary restraining order that halted operations at Arete Financial, Arete Financial Freedom, CBC Conglomerate LLC and Diamond Choice Inc., among others. The businesses maintained operations in Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, Irvine and Walnut Creek.
A settlement was reached in the case pending in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California when defendants Carey G. Howe, Anna C. Howe, Shunmin Hsu, Ruddy Palacios and Oliver Pomazi agreed to pay at least $835,000 to settle the FTC allegations. This was increased to $3,300,000.
The order banned the defendants from providing student loan debt relief services and prohibited them from violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule. It also included a monetary judgment of $43.3 million, which was largely suspended due to the defendants’ inability to pay.
What is truly amazing is that while they are banned from providing student loan debt relief services, they are still permitted to offer unsecured debt relief for credit cards!
Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC is a law firm that represents students with difficult Private Student loan debts. We provide Debt Settlement, Judgment Contests, Debtor Protection, Collection Lawsuit Defense, and Bankruptcy. To learn more, visit our website at www.DebtorProtectors.com. For a free consultation, call/text to (855) 709-5788 or contact us online today.