CFPB Sues Over Student Financial Aid Scam

Posted by NCBRC - November 4, 2015

Taking advantage of confusion and concern over the costs of higher education, a financial aid scam has garnered millions of dollars in fees for bogus student loan financial services. The scam is run by Armond Aria using companies called Global Financial Support, Inc., Student Financial Resource Center and College Financial Advisory. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has filed a lawsuit against the companies and Aria in the District Court for the Southern District of California alleging that Aria and his companies violated the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act by misleading consumers about their services. Specifically the complaint alleges that the company issues marketing letters to students and their families offering to conduct searches to match students with individualized financial aid opportunities. The letters falsely represent affiliation with the government or academic institution and demand a fee ranging from $59 to $78 to conduct the search. Students are instructed to fill out an application and pay the fee in accordance with a meaningless deadline or risk losing the opportunity to receive financial aid. In return, the applicants receive either nothing at all, or a general booklet on financial aid. In fact, the Department of Education operates the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a national program enabling students to apply for college loans and grants. There is no fee associated with this program.

The lawsuit seeks both injunctive relief to stop the unlawful practices and restitution for those consumers harmed by the illegal conduct.


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