The FTC filed lawsuits in two related cases in September 2019:
- FTC v. Manhattan Beach Venture, LLC, et al.
U.S. District Court, Central District of California; Case No. 2:19-cv-07849
- FTC v. Student Advocates Team, LLC, et al.
U.S. District Court, Central District of California; Case No. 8:19-cv-01728
So far, the FTC has reached settlements with Manhattan Beach Venture (MBV) and Equitable Acceptance Corporation (EAC), and is suing the other defendants.
EAC is a financing company that the FTC says issued loans to customers of MBV and Student Advocates to cover the fees that those defendants charged their customers. MBV and EAC must send notices to their customers about the settlements.
If you paid EAC or MBV for student loan debt relief, don’t give them any more money.
Please review the questions and answers below for more information.
1. I got a notice. What does it mean?
If you were a customer of Manhattan Beach Venture, LLC (MBV), either MBV or EAC may send you a notice to tell you that:
- None of the money you paid to MBV or EAC went toward paying your student loan.
- No company should try to collect any money you owe to MBV or EAC.
- EAC will no longer report information about your account to any credit bureau. EAC has requested that information about your EAC account be removed from your credit report.
If you were a customer of Student Advocates Team, Progress Advocates Group, Student Advocates Group, or Assurance Solution Services, you may get a notice from EAC to tell you that:
- EAC should not try to collect any money you owe any of these Student Advocates defendants. Don’t pay EAC for student debt relief products you bought from any of these defendants.
- EAC will no longer report any information about your account to any credit bureau. EAC has requested that information about your EAC account be removed from your credit report
2. What about the student loan forgiveness I thought I was getting?
Contact your loan servicer about the status of your student loan payments. Contact the U.S. Department of Education about the status of your enrollment in a U.S. Department of Education repayment program. None of the money you paid to Manhattan Beach Venture, EAC, or Student Advocates went toward paying your student loan debt.
If you were enrolled in a repayment plan offered by the U.S. Department of Education, loan forgiveness is not guaranteed and typically requires making monthly payments on time for many years. To be eligible, you also must re-certify your income and family size each year.
3. Will I get my money back?
MBV Customers: The FTC and the State of Minnesota settled with all the defendants in the case against Manhattan Beach Venture, and the court entered final orders. The amount of money collected from the defendants may not be enough to give refunds to MBV customers. The FTC is reviewing the customer data now.
Student Advocates Customers: The court has not made a decision yet in this lawsuit. The FTC will provide updates about this case as they become available.
4. Is there anything I can do right now?
If you were a customer of MBV or Student Advocates and you want to make sure that we have your current contact information, please report it at www.ftc.gov/complaint. Follow the path for Credit and Debt -> Debt -> A company offering debt management or credit counseling. In your report, please include:
- Your name
- Your mailing address
- Your phone number
- Your email address
- In the comment field, please include the name of the company that appears in your agreement and say whether you made payments to EAC.