Brandon Demond Frere waived indictment and was charged by Information on October 1, 2019 for his operation of a fraudulent student loan debt relief scheme. Frere formulated, directed, controlled and participated in the operations of the following companies: American Financial Benefits Center (“AFBC”), Ameritech Financial (“Ameritech”), and Financial Education Benefits Center (”FEBC”) which were registered as California Corporations on February 11, 2011, October 28, 2015 and October 30, 2015 respectively. The charges include one count of Wire Fraud and Aiding and Abetting, and one count of International Money Laundering and Aiding and Abetting.
Defendant used the Companies to sell individuals document preparation services for federal student loan forgiveness, loan consolidation, and reduced-payment programs. His Companies also enrolled individuals in a financial education “benefits” program through false, fraudulent and misleading representations. Frere targeted recipients of federal student loans who were often struggling to make payments and caused his employees to use misleading sales scripts and other deceptive practices that fraudulently induced thousands of victims to sign up for document preparation services and to enroll in the financial education benefits program.
Clients of Ameritech and AFBC paid approximately $800 for document preparation services while clients of the financial benefits program, through AFBC and FEBC, were charged an initial enrollment fee of between approximately $100 and $1,200 followed by ongoing monthly membership fees of between approximately $49 and $99 per month.
Victim Impact Statement Form
The period to submit victim impact statements has closed. Please note that we are currently working on the review of all submitted claims with a submission or postmark date on or before April 30, 2020.
Next Court Date
A sentencing hearing was held on Friday, July 24, 2020. Defendant Brandon Frere was sentenced to 42 months of imprisonment. A copy of the judgment has been posted below.
Restitution Hearing Update
A restitution hearing was held on September 1, 2021. The Court ruled in favor of the Government’s proposed restitution list which will encompass (1) losses submitted through victim impact statements and (2) clients whose payments were identified through payment processor records. The list will include over 40,000 clients. We are currently awaiting the Court’s signed Order and working to prepare a redacted restitution list to post publicly and anticipate completion by November 15th.
Victim Notification System
Please take note that we utilize the Department of Justice’s Victim Notification System (VNS) to share updates regarding the case. If you submitted a victim impact statement by the April 30, 2020 deadline you should have received an automated e-mail from email@example.com confirming receipt of your statement, advising of your rights and providing you an assigned Victim Identification Number (VIN) and PIN for use on our website www.notify.usdoj.gov. E-mail address must be verified in our system to receive full text notifications.
If you submitted a statement on or before April 30, 2020 and did not receive an e-mail from our automated VNS system please e-mail USACAN.AmeritechVIS@usdoj.gov with the subject line “NEED VIN/PIN” by July 16, 2021. We also encourage you to check your e-mail spam/junk folder to search for messages from firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Frere Judgement
- Victim Impact Statement Brochure
- Northern District of California Victim Witness Brochure
- Right to be Heard Brochure
- CEO Charged With Wire Fraud Arrested At SFO
- Sonoma County CEO Pleads Guilty To Charges Stemming From $25-65 Million Student Loan Repayment Services Scam
- Sonoma County CEO Sentenced To Three And A Half Years In Prison On Charges Stemming From Multi-Million-Dollar Student Loan Repayment Services Scam
For information or assistance with this particular case please contact the Mega Victim Case Assistance Program Unit at (844) 527-5299 or e-mail USAEO.MCAP@usdoj.gov.
For information regarding the status of your student loan please contact your loan servicer or the Department of Education at https://www.ed.gov/ or 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327).