CFPB Announces Action Against Monster Loans, Lend Tech Loans, and Associated Student Loan Debt-Relief Companies

January 9, 2020, the Bureau filed suit against several companies and individuals involved in offering student loan debt-relief services for allegedly obtaining consumer reports illegally, charging unlawful advance fees, and engaging in deceptive conduct. The Bureau’s action is against a mortgage lender called Chou Team Realty, LLC, which does business as Monster Loans (Monster Loans); an allegedly sham mortgage brokerage called Lend Tech Loans, Inc.; and several student loan debt-relief companies, including Docu Prep Center, Inc., which does business as DocuPrep Center and Certified Document Center; Certified Doc Prep Services, LP; Assure Direct Services, Inc.; Direct Document Solutions, Inc.; Secure Preparation Services, Inc.; and Docs Done Right, Inc. The Bureau is also taking action against several individuals, including Bilal Abdelfattah, who is also known as Belal Abdelfattah and Bill Abdel; Thomas “Tom” Chou; Sean Cowell; Robert Hoose; Eduardo “Ed” Martinez; Jawad Nesheiwat; Frank Anthony Sebreros; and David Sklar.

As described in the complaint, the Bureau alleges that between 2015 and 2017, Monster Loans violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by obtaining consumer-report information for millions of consumers with student loan debt from a major credit bureau on the pretense that the company planned to use the information to offer mortgage loans to consumers when, in fact, Monster Loans provided the reports to the student loan debt-relief companies to use in marketing their services. The Bureau also alleges that, between 2017 and at least early 2019, Lend Tech Loans similarly violated the FCRA by obtaining consumer report information for millions of consumers for use in marketing student loan debt-relief services.

The Bureau further alleges that, while offering and providing student loan debt-relief services, certain defendants violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA) and the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) by making deceptive representations about the companies’ services. Specifically, the Bureau alleges that certain defendants misrepresented to consumers that they would have their interest rates reduced, have their credit scores improved, and that the U.S. Department of Education would become their servicer. The Bureau also alleges that certain defendants unlawfully charged and collected at least $15 million in fees before consumers received any adjustment to their student loans and made any payments toward their adjusted loans.

The Bureau filed its complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Jan. 9, 2020. The Bureau’s complaint seeks an injunction against the defendants, as well as damages, redress to consumers, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and the imposition of civil money penalties. The complaint also names several defendants in order to obtain relief and seeks disgorgement of those relief defendants’ ill-gotten gains.

The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendants have violated the law.

The complaint is available at: https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_chou-team-realty-monster-loans_complaint_2020-01.pdf.

No Author Biography has been linked to this Article.

Related Articles

M Joseph Photo 2-1-22
July 23, 2023
Social media and internet dating sites have given rise to romance and confidence schemes.  Catfishing and spear phishing are extensively used.  Catfishing is faking an identity on the internet. Spear phishing uses more sophisticated and direct messages to trick the victim. New AI programs make it easier to reach and victimize the targets. The fraudsters prey upon the elderly, widowed...
Members
October 6, 2019
By Mike Fitzgerald It has been almost one full year since I retired as the Chapter 13 Standing Trustee in Seattle. I am happy to report that my family and I are enjoying ourselves immensely. As retirement grows more comfortable, I find myself looking back with mostly very fond memories at the nineteen years I served as a Trustee, as...
Members
January 19, 2020
By Henry E. Hildebrand, III, Chapter 13 Standing Trustee for the Middle District of Tennessee (Nashville) Chapter 7 debtor may successfully discharge student loan obligations by satisfying the basic holding of Brunner v. N.Y. State Higher Education Servs. Corp. rather than satisfying the judicial gloss added by subsequent decisions. Rosenberg v. N.Y. State Higher Education Servs. Corp., 2020 WL 130302...
Members
Copy of Hildebrand-2016
June 19, 2022
Congress’ enactment of differing fees for U.S. Trustee states and Bankruptcy Administrator states violated the uniformity provision of the Bankruptcy Clause of Article I of the Constitution. (Sotomayer) Siegel v. Fitzgerald, 2022 WL 1914098 (S.Ct. June 6, 2022) Case Summary In 2008, the retail chain, Circuit City Stores, filed a Chapter 11 petition. In 2010, Circuit City’sliquidating plan was confirmed...
Members
langehennig
As a prerequisite to a claim’s payment, Rule 3002.1 requires certain secured creditors to provide to the trustee and the debtor notice of the full value of the secured creditor’s claim, including any “fees, expenses, and charges” related to the claim. Two bankruptcy courts have demonstrated a willingness to expand the reach of Rule 3002.1’s noticing requirements. These courts generally...
Members
June 27, 2021
By Henry E. Hildebrand, III, Chapter 13 Standing Trustee (Nashville, TN) It constitutes an unfair discrimination, violative of 11 U.S.C. § 1322(b)(1), for a Chapter 13 plan which would pay more to a student loan than to the remaining general unsecured creditors. (Somers) In re Kane, 603 B.R. 491 (Bankr. C.D. Kan. June 18, 2019) Case Summary Ronald Kane filed...
Members
pricesmith
February 4, 2024
February is Black History Month and it’s a time to recognize the past but also honor those who are achieving great things today.
EAV2010
July 31, 2022
Helen Morris, the Standing Chapter 13 and 12 Trustee for West Virginia is retiring at the end of this fiscal year. I first met Helen over lunch at NACTT, where we chatted about a non-legal interest we both share, writing fiction. I was delighted to discover, then as now, a friend with a razor wit, a wicked sense of humor...
NBR cropped 2
November 26, 2023
“ . . . how can I not write about an opinion that begins, “This is a case of sue first and ask questions later”? We all know that Judge Christopher Klein has a way with words and a precise and methodical way of approaching statutory analysis.”
Members
Copy of Hildebrand-2016
December 11, 2022
A Chapter 13 plan can be confirmed to pay a 100% dividend to unsecured creditors while maintaining payments to a student loan creditor as a long-term debt (which will not satisfy the student loan in the commitment period) without committing all available disposable income. (Mullin) In re Victoria Florita Durand-Day, 2022 WL 14938726 (Bankr. N.D. Tex. October 26, 2022) Case...
Members

Looking to Become a Member?

ConsiderChapter13.org offers a forum to advance continuing education of consumer bankruptcy via access to insightful articles, informative webinars, and the latest industry news. Join now to benefit from expert resources and stay informed.

Webinars

These informative sessions are led by industry experts and cover a range of consumer bankruptcy topics.

Member Articles

Written by industry experts, these articles provide in-depth analysis and practical guidance on consumer bankruptcy topics.

Industry News

The Academy is the go-to source for the latest news and analysis in the Chapter 13 bankruptcy industry.

To get started, please let us know which of these best fits your current position: