In November 2018, the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against recidivist Tuan Duong, among others, alleging he falsely promised to reduce students’ monthly loan payments or to eliminate or reduce their educational debts, but widely failed to deliver those services. The defendants also allegedly promoted a 96 percent success rate in reducing consumers’ student loan payments. In fact, the FTC alleged, the consumers who purchased these services often did not receive any debt relief and lost hundreds of dollars. The FTC alleged that the defendants charged consumers illegal upfront fees of $300 or more for these purported debt relief services. A federal court temporarily halted the scheme and froze its assets.
In May 2019, Duong, the ringleader of the scheme, agreed to settle the Commission’s charges that he bilked $11 million from consumers who were trying to reduce their student loan monthly payments or get loan forgiveness. Under the modified court order, Duong admits he violated the 2016 order and is now banned from the telemarketing industry. The proposed modified final order against Duong contains both injunctive and monetary relief. The order contains an $11,000,215.25 judgment as compensatory relief to the FTC and permanently bans Duong from the telemarketing industry.
In July 2019, both Avitia-Pena, president of Impetus Enterprise, Inc., and Jimmy Calderon, manager of Capital Sun Investments, LLC, settled the FTC’s charges alleging they conducted student loan debt relief operations associated with Duong. The $11 million settlement to be paid by Avitia-Pena represents gross revenues of Impetus Enterprise Inc.’s student loan debt relief operation. The order against Calderon and Capital Sun Investments contains a suspended judgment for $1.3 million, the gross revenues of Capital Sun Investments, LLC’s operation.