California woman charged with $ 6 million student debt scam

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FILE – In this file photo from August 17, 2021, California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks at a press conference in Sacramento, Calif. over $ 6 million, the state’s top prosecutor announced on Tuesday, September 21, 2021. (AP Photo / Rich Pedroncelli, File)

PA

California woman arrested on suspicion of staging a student loan debt relief scam that defrauded thousands of borrowers out of over $ 6 million, the state’s top prosecutor said on Tuesday .

Angela Kathryn Mirabella, 47, ran a network of third-party call centers based in Orange County that employed sales agents who reached out to people across the country promising them to reduce or eliminate their loan debt student, California Attorney General Rob Bonta said.

“These promises were lies,” Bonta said at a press conference.

Grand jury indicted Mirabella on 87 counts, including fraud and grand theft under false pretenses, plus special allegations of over $ 2.5 million money laundering and white collar crimes aggravated.

She was due to be brought to justice on Wednesday, Bonta said. An email requesting comment from Mirabella was not immediately returned. It was not known if she had a lawyer who could speak on her behalf.

The indictment also included four call center managers and two sales agents who worked for Mirabella. They are accused of stealing $ 6.13 million in less than three years from more than 19,000 victims, including 3,000 in California, according to the court record.

Between 2017 and 2020, sales agents contacted around 380,000 student loan borrowers who were struggling to meet their monthly debts. The agents claimed to be associated with the US Department of Education and promised borrowers to enroll in programs that would lower their monthly payments and result in loan forgiveness.

“When borrowers became suspicious or uncertain, these sales agents allegedly applied pressure creating false deadlines and implied that there was no other way to get student loan forgiveness,” Bonta said.

In some cases, people have disclosed personal identifying information that agents use to access and make changes to federal student aid accounts of borrowers without consent, prosecutors said.

Victims paid upfront fees and made additional monthly payments totaling more than $ 1,000 for services provided free of charge by federal loan officers, prosecutors said.

“Most victims believed these additional payments were being applied to their student loan debt. In fact, they weren’t, ”Bonta said. “This has led many victims to stop making their monthly payments on their actual student loans, resulting in late payment notifications, increased loan balances, and sometimes total default.

The case was investigated by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Department of Education. United.


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