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Friday, August 1, 2008

Rotorcraft Report: Feds Review Senator’s Call for Silver State Probe

TRAINING

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reviewing a senator’s call for it to investigate whether Silver State Helicopters and companies that issued loans to its students engaged in deceptive business practices.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) in late May wrote to the FTC’s chair, William Kovacic, requesting that he "expand the FTC’s ongoing investigation into unfair and deceptive marketing practices by various private student loan providers to include Silver State Helicopter and those lenders that entered into contract with Silver State students." Four of Silver State’s 33 training schools were in Florida.

North Las Vegas, Nev.-based Silver State went bankrupt in early February, leaving thousands of students with thousands of dollars in tuition loans and little recourse to recover payments for training they never received.

The company didn’t participate in any federal student-loan or grants program, but Nelson thinks the FTC has oversight because of federal laws against deceptive marketing practices. According to an aide to Nelson, by mid-July 39 former Silver State students had contacted the senator’s office. "The FTC is reviewing our request as to whether they’ll include Silver State in the investigation," the aide said.

Nationwide, lawyers are suing to block lenders from collecting payments on tuition loans. Silver State’s assets are being liquidated in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Las Vegas.

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