The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has taken action against the owner of a student-loan debt relief company for allegedly withdrawing hundreds of thousands of dollars from student borrowers’ bank accounts, without authorization . The CFPB alleges that Frank Gebase, Jr. controlled a company that took the borrowers’ money after obtaining their names and account information from a previous student-loan debt-relief scammer that the CFPB shut down. The CFPB’s proposed settlement, if entered by the court, would ban Gebase from the debt-relief industry and order him to pay a penalty. On March 30, 2016, the CFPB ordered Student Aid Institute to shut down its debt-relief operations and rescind all of its consumer agreements. Gebase had leased office space to Student Aid Institute, and he was a longtime associate of its principal. In 2016, Gebase founded Processingstudentloans in San Diego, and he was the founder, sole owner, CEO, and sole corporate officer.
The CFPB alleges that from approximately May 20, 2016 to April 5, 2017, Processingstudentloans was a non-bank provider of student-loan debt-relief services. As alleged in the complaint, without authorization, Processingstudentloans collected recurring fees from customers, typically $39 per month, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in total fees from hundreds of student loan borrowers. In addition to controlling Processingstudentloans and facilitating the debits, Gebase was aware or should have known that the debits were unauthorized and unlawful. By April 2017, under this scheme, Gebase’s company had unlawfully debited more than $240,000 from hundreds of student borrowers’ accounts.
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