Wrongful fee-charging practices and deceptive telemarketing have earned a proposed prohibition order against a debt relief firm and its chief executive for tricking consumers into using debt relief services and collecting nearly $10.5 million in unlawful fees, the federal consumer financial protection agency said Friday.
In a release, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said it filed the proposed order against Performance SLC, a student loan debt relief business, and Performance Settlement, a general debt-settlement company, along with their owner and CEO, Daniel Crenshaw, all of California.
If a federal court in the state accepts the order, the bureau said, Performance SLC would be permanently banned from debt relief services, and Crenshaw barred from debt relief services for five years (as well as be on the hook to pay a $30,000 fine). The proposed order would also ban Performance Settlement from certain loan-settlement and lead-generation activities, the agency said.
The CFPB alleges that Performance SLC unlawfully collected upfront payments from borrowers and did not provide required disclosures. Performance Settlement settled debts without the required consumer authorization and tricked certain consumers into enrolling into its debt-resolution services, the bureau said.
The order stems from a 2020 lawsuit filed by the agency in federal district court for the Central District of California against Performance SLC, Performance Settlement, and Crenshaw. In that suit, the CFPB alleges Performance SLC and Crenshaw charged more than 9,000 consumers with federal student-loan debt with approximately $10.5 million in illegal upfront fees. The bureau also alleges that Crenshaw and Performance Settlement used deceptive sales tactics to sign certain consumers up for debt-relief services (e.g., by tricking customers into paying for debt relief services).