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Westwood College Rip-off

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Tampa, FLWestwood College vehemently denies the allegations made against it, but attorney Chris Hoyer says he has stories and examples from dozens and dozens former students and staff members that will prove the for-profit college based in Denver, Colorado is guilty of fraud.

"I think as of yesterday some 800 students have contacted us," says Hoyer from his office in Tampa. "Sixty former employees of Westwood have also come to us. They have no skin in the game other than to come forward and tell us what happened. In all the cases I have done I have never seen this many former employees come forward."

"It's not just kids - there are a lot of military people coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan spending their GI bill benefits. And there are a lot of single mothers trying to get an education and build a foundation for themselves"
According to the class action filed by James, Hoyer, Newcomer & Smiljanich on behalf of group of former students, Westwood uses deceptive tactics and misrepresentations and a high-pressure sales scheme to convince students to enroll at the college.

"They tell potential students that within a few months 85 percent of its students have jobs and are making $80,000 a year," says Hoyer. "And everybody gets an A, just to keep them in the program."

Westwood College students soon find out that courses are non-accredited and that the degree they are working towards is useless and they are saddled with loans with government loans of $40,000 to $80,000. The promised job placements never materialize.

''Typically they get halfway through or part way through, when they already owe $40,000 and find out it is not accredited," says Hoyer. "Then they have a tough choice: Do they drop out and start out all over again carrying $40,000 loan, or do they go all the way through knowing what their fate is?"

Hoyer says Westwood College is a relatively smaller player in the for-profit college industry.

"There are hundreds of these colleges, and there is $20 billion in federal aid going into these places. The business model is get people to sign up for federal loans. It is not unlike the subprime mortgage collapse. They whole deal is to get them to sign up – you don't carry risk – just get them to sign up."

Hoyer describes Westwood College as a kind of boiler room sales operation that spends millions on advertising and employees 300 to 500 fulltime telemarketers that pitch to potential students non-stop across the US.

"And it's not just kids," says Hoyer. "There are a lot of military people coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan spending their GI bill benefits. And there are a lot of single mothers trying to get an education and build a foundation for themselves."

Hoyer hopes the suit will "get most of students' debt extinguished" and put an end to the collection calls coming from the federal government loan department.

"What we are trying to do is get that debt off their shoulders," he says.

Chris Hoyer is a senior partner with James, Hoyer, Newcomer & Smiljanich. He is a former Assistant US State Attorney in Tampa, Florida. He also served as a trial attorney with the US Justice Department Strike Force on Organized Crime. The firm focuses on complex fraud litigation on behalf of consumers and acts for whistleblowers.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
I have read so much against Westwood College over the last few years and find myself in many of those situations. I attended Westwood Online from October 2009 to March 2013. And I have nothing "real" to show for it, especially after all the promises of this and that.
How can I go about finding if I am/was eligible to be a part of any of the previous class action lawsuits.?

Posted by

on
I have been screwed by westwood. They false advertise. Lied about acreddited college also said they would have job placement and i could do an intern at waltdisney. All a bunch of scam and lies please help

Posted by

on
I attended westwood back in 2007. I never signed for any loans since they said i didnt have good enough credit. I somehow was "Flunked" out of a class I was getting straight A's in. Now all of a sudden I owe 12k for something I took for less than a month. Every year they have been sending me bills and taking my tax returns since 2008. That 14k of my hard earned money gone for every year out of my tax check. why was i not informed there was a lawsuit?

Posted by

on
I enrolled in Westwood in 2005 and took 5 classes, I paid them money ontop of using active military education benifits...the attorney general took them to court and sent me a check for 1300 dollars all the money I paid Westwood out of my pocket. The sad thing is that two years after I took the classes sallie Mae sent me bills for two loans I never approved and was I unaware that they were taken out. I since then haven't paid on the loan and will not pay...they continue to take my income tax return. They still say I owe the 10,000 dollars for a few classes...I recieved my associates degree for $2000...so 10k for a couple classes is crazieness, plus I paid my part the military didn't cover....I have called everyone year to year and all I get is "you have to pay your federal loan off"

Martin Newberry

Posted by

on
My son had the same issue with the branch in Dupage. After the same lies of job availability and three years my son left without finishing because he couldn't afford any more loans. Then I find out that I hold most of the loans ( greater than I can afford) and the real kicker is I don't recall signing for the majority of the so called parent plus loans. Federal loans were then given over to Sallie Mae. And now I can't make the monthly payment. I didn't sign up for this. Where is my justice.

Posted by

on
What happen to the Warnings about Westwood group that was on Facebook? It has disappeared! Thanks in advance for your response. I would like to continue to stay abreast of the class action suit that Jillian Estes was involved heavily in. Thank you!

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