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Consumer Advocacy Center Inc., d/b/a Premier Student Loan Center; True Count Staffing Inc., d/b/a SL Account Management; Prime Consulting LLC, d/b/a Financial Preparation Services; Albert Kim; Kaine Wen; and Tuong Nguyen

On October 21, 2019, the Bureau filed a complaint and sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in federal court in the Central District of California against Consumer Advocacy Center Inc., d/b/a Premier Student Loan Center (Premier); True Count Staffing Inc., d/b/a SL Account Management (True Count); Prime Consulting LLC, d/b/a Financial Preparation Services (Prime); Albert Kim; Kaine Wen; and Tuong Nguyen. The Bureau alleges the debt relief companies operate as a common enterprise and have engaged in deceptive practices and charged unlawful advance fees in connection with the marketing and sale of student loan debt relief services to consumers. The Bureau also alleges the individuals substantially assisted the student loan debt relief companies. The complaint also names several relief defendants and seeks disgorgement of those relief defendants’ ill-gotten gains. The court granted the request for the temporary restraining order on October 21, 2019. The court entered a stipulated preliminary injunction on November 15, 2019. The Bureau filed an amended complaint on February 24, 2020. The Bureau’s amended complaint seeks an injunction against defendants, as well as damages, redress to consumers, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and the imposition of a civil money penalty. The amended complaint also names several additional defendants and relief defendants.

On August 26, 2020, the court entered a corrected, amended stipulated final judgment as to defendants Prime and Horizon Consultants LLC (Horizon). The order imposes a judgment of $95,057,757 against Prime to provide redress to consumers. Horizon is jointly and severally liable for $12,942,045 of this amount. Full payment of these amounts is suspended based on Prime’s and Horizon’s demonstrated inability to pay following, among other things, their turnover of assets and their payment of a $1 civil money penalty to the Bureau. The order also bans Prime and Horizon from telemarketing or offering or providing debt relief services. On August 28, 2020, the court entered a stipulated final judgment and order as to defendant Tuong Nguyen and relief defendant TN Accounting Inc. The order imposes a judgment of $95,057,757 against Nguyen to provide redress to consumers. Relief defendant TN Accounting is jointly and severally liable for $444,563 of this amount. Full payment of these amounts is suspended based on their demonstrated inability to pay following, among other things, Nguyen and TN Accounting’s turnover of assets and Nguyen's payment of a $1 civil money penalty to the Bureau. The order also bans Nguyen from telemarketing or offering or providing debt relief services.

On September 8, 2020, the court entered a stipulated final judgment as to relief defendants Hold the Door Corp. and Mice and Men LLC. The order imposes a judgment of $1,638,687 against relief defendant Hold the Door and $5,041,069 against relief defendant Mice and Men to provide redress to consumers. Full payment of these amounts will be suspended based on their demonstrated inability to pay following their turnover of assets.

On December 15, 2020, the court entered a default judgment against First Priority LLC and True Count Staffing Inc. The order imposes a judgment of $55,360,817.14 and $165,848.05 against True Count and First Priority, respectively, to provide redress to consumers. The order also requires True Count to pay a $30 million penalty, of which $29,850,000 is payable to the Bureau. It also requires First Priority to pay $3.75 million in penalties, of which $2,470,000 is payable to the Bureau. The order also bans the defaulted defendants from telemarketing or offering or providing debt relief services. The case remains pending against the remaining defendants.

Related documents

Complaint – October 21, 2019

Amended complaint – February 24, 2020

Corrected, amended stipulated final judgment and order (Prime Consulting LLC and Horizon Consultants LLC) – August 26, 2020

Stipulated final judgment and order (Tuong Nguyen and TN Accounting) – August 28, 2020

Stipulated final judgment and order (Hold the Door Corp. and Mice and Men LLC) – September 8, 2020

Default judgment and order (First Priority LLC and True Count Staffing Inc.) – December 15, 2020

Press release

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Announces Action Against Student Loan Debt Relief Operation