What is Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Mission?

What is Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s mission? Is it to protect consumers? If so, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should take a stand against usage of unvalidated monetary demands by different types of trolls, copyrights abusers and other similar entities. Of course, this should also apply to unvalidated monetary demands made by the Department of Education. That is, the mission should not change when another government institution is involved that is making unvalidated monetary demands.

The relevant questions and topics may have to be explored further. Below is a letter that addresses related areas.

The letter published below was delivered to the office of the Honorable Richard Cordray, Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, USPS Delivery Confirmation EK635224711US

The Honorable Richard Cordray, Director

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

1700 G Street, NW

Washington, DC 20552

Dear Director Cordray,

Thank you for the response dated 09/09/2015 to my letter (submission number XXXXXX-XXXXXX). However, your response states that “In your complaint, you identified the U.S. Department of Education as the owner of your loan. We have sent this information to the Department of Education and closed your file here.”

We have a serious misunderstanding here: there is no loan. Regarding this case, the Department of Education is the owner of the following actions:

  • Unvalidated monetary demands that have been accompanied with threats
  • Usage of involuntary servitude
  • Possible accounting fraud
  • Monetary demands made based on fraudulent claims
  • Usage of extortionist techniques
  • Fraudulent computer record generating
  • Credit report entries made for the purpose of bullying
  • Refusal to honor Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request

However, the Department of Education cannot possibly own non-existent loans. Accordingly, I did not identify the U.S. Department of Education as the owner of any loan.

As far as I can tell, the problems addressed here do fall under Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) jurisdiction. If that is not the case, please specify the reasons why none of the problems addressed here fall under CFPB jurisdiction. Otherwise, I hope to receive a response that demonstrates direct involvement by CFPB.

By not taking a stand against usage of unvalidated monetary demands, CFPB supports such demands. I hope that this is not your intention. So, I will send you again the information regarding this case.

On a larger scale, different types of trolls, copyrights abusers and other similar entities that make unvalidated demands do a lot of harm to both individual consumers and businesses, and the entire economy. We need to get rid of such parasitic business practices.

At least in my case, the Department of Education operates essentially the same way. Because the Department of Education is neither able nor willing to find a constructive solution in this case, outside interference is necessary.

If the Department of Education wanted to find a constructive solution to this case, we could have done so. Instead, for over 3.5 years they have made it clear that this institution is run so that they know how to create problems, and they focus on administering problems, but at the most they only pay lip service to finding solutions to problems.

In the process, lots of time and resources have been wasted. Such wasteful usage of resources in a manner that does not produce value characterizes my case, and also exemplifies the way the Department of Education operates. Because I am forced to work on this case, I also have to draw attention to this aspect.

If necessary, I don’t mind contacting you many times. However, we do need to find a solution to this dispute.

In accordance with previous documentation, please note that this is an open letter that I will publish on the Internet, on StopExtortion.org so that it is accessible to the general public and to other institutions.

Thomas Eklund

  • Below is a copy of the original letter sent to Director Cordray. A copy of the original letter was included with the letter posted above.

The Honorable Richard Cordray, Director

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

1700 G Street, NW

Washington, DC 20552

Dear Director Cordray,

I am seeking your help in the following three inter-related areas that all pertain to one case:

  • I am seeking your help with ending a situation where I am being demanded to pay an alleged debt, even though the existing evidence shows that the monetary demands are based on bad record keeping and on corresponding cover-up attempts.
  • The U.S. Department of Education has been demanding money from me for an alleged debt. Compared to the cost of tuition, the amount of money that I allegedly borrowed as principal, is extremely high. Despite of my repeated requests, no validation has been offered, that the corresponding lending and borrowing transactions have actually taken place, and that I have ever received the alleged loans either directly or indirectly, as tuition support.
  • Further, based on a documented sequence of events it can be concluded that the U.S. Department of Education has been trying to avoid to take into consideration the financial aid that I received (not loans), such as Rhode Island College Honors Scholarship, work-study financial aid and Pell Grant.
  • Similarly, the U.S. Department of Education has been trying to avoid to handle my Federal Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request. I contacted Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) regarding this aspect. The relevant case remains unresolved.
  • Further, initially the U.S. Department of Education insisted that a contract had been broken. After my working on resolving this issue, it turned out that no relevant contract existed, thus, there was no contract that had been broken.
  • Similarly, initially, the U.S. Department of Education insisted that it holds legally binding original promissory notes. After my working on resolving this issue, it turned out simply to be untrue.
  • Further, I am seeking your help with ending a situation where I am being forced to work endlessly in involuntary servitude conditions on resolving this case.
  • This case has been going on from December of 2011, remaining for over 3.5 years in the same debt validation status. No end in sight. The only progress that has been made, has been made because I have been working on this case.
  • Furthermore, please advise, which institution is best suited for looking into a possible accounting fraud by the U.S. Department of Education regarding this case.

The U.S. Department of Education is operating de facto as one of the largest financial institutions in the U.S. Further, based on publicly available information, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) does supervise nonbank student loan servicers.

In the U.S. there is no institution that resolves student loan related disputes in a completely impartial manner, taking equally into consideration the interests of both sides. However, I hope that we can conclude that the student loan related operations of the U.S. Department of Education do fall under the CFPB jurisdiction.

Thus, I am seeking your help with resolving this case.

Please note that I am not seeking any kind of debt relief. I am seeking relief from being subjected to prolonged unvalidated monetary demands and from being forced to work endlessly and without compensation on a debt validation case that is intended to benefit the U.S. Department of Education financially and, under the circumstances, the U.S. Department of Education should handle completely impartially with its own resources, within a reasonable pre-determined period of time (for example, 3 months).

I have been documenting this case on the Internet. In accordance with the previous documentation, please note that this is an open letter that I will publish on the Internet, on StopExtortion.org so that it is accessible to the general public and to other institutions.

Further, please note that until this case is resolved, I need to keep records of the relevant correspondence. I am not able to record phone calls. Therefore, I can correspond in writing only, via regular mail.

Case Background

I will explain below the current situation further.

I came to the U.S. in 1989 as a political refugee from the Soviet Union. I attended state owned Rhode Island College between 1990 and 1996 as an honors student. According to publicly accessible sources the in-state cost of tuition to attend the state owned Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 ranged from $1,703 to $2,838 a year.

I received Rhode Island College Honors Scholarship, Pell Grant and work-study financial aid that covered the cost of my attending Rhode Island College.

As far as I know, as a student I did not qualify for bank loans because I was in the U.S. on a temporary visa when I first attended college, and then on Green Card until graduation, without any credit history, co-signer or collateral. Further, initially I did not have any work experience and work history either. While I was a student my income was extremely low and did not support borrowing from a bank tens of thousands of dollars.

However, the Department of Education insists that I also borrowed $46,354.00 as principal from Fleet National Bank, to which the Department of Education later added interest and fees, so that at this point the Department of Education is demanding from me over $135,000.00.

The amount of money that the Department of Education claims that I borrowed is several times higher than I possibly could have received, even if I would have borrowed money. As a student, I did not live on campus. The Department of Education is unable to explain, how the $46,354.00 supposedly was used or where did it go.

I have been requesting debt validation from the Department of Education from December of 2011, when I received a student loan collection letter.

None of the demands have been validated. There is no validation that I ever received any of the alleged loans either directly, or indirectly, as tuition support. Similarly, there is no validation that any legally binding documents exist.

The over three years long dispute with the Department of Education has so far resulted in identifying the following:

  • Initially, the Department of Education insisted that a breach of contract had occurred. However, a legally enforceable contract must be consummated by consideration which, in this case, would be my receiving student loans as the promisor from Fleet National Bank as the promisee. There is no contract that involves my receipt of student loans as the promisor from Fleet National Bank as the promisee. Thus, there is no contract involved here that has been breached.
  • As a student, I signed and submitted financial aid applications and received financial aid based on these applications. These financial aid applications do contain information on my receipt of financial aid other than loans.
  • Financial aid applications and legally binding promissory notes are different documents. However, the Department of Education is trying to serve these financial aid applications as legally binding promissory notes, even though these financial aid applications (a) are not in accordance with the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) requirements for legally binding promissory notes, (b) do not contain the information that legally binding promissory notes must contain, and (c) do not contain information on my receipt of the alleged bank loans.
  • Thus, there are no legally binding promissory note debt instruments that I signed as a student at Rhode Island College that involved me as the promisor and Fleet National Bank as the promisee.
  • Accordingly, the Department of Education does not hold any valid legally binding promissory note debt instruments that involve me as the promisor and Fleet National Bank as the promisee.
  • No documents have been furnished that demonstrate existence of debt and debt obligations. Accordingly, the Department of Education does not own a nonexistent debt that involves me as the promisor and Fleet National Bank as the promisee.

The Department of Education representative does not state that I received student loans and that I must pay the Department of Education because I received student loans. Instead, the Department of Education representative states that I must pay them because I signed the financial aid applications, which the Department of Education also calls promissory notes. However, financial aid applications and promissory notes are different documents.

These less than a page long financial aid applications contain only one place for signature, in the middle of the page, and that is where I signed them.

Further, there are requirements set for legally binding promissory notes, and the financial aid applications that I signed do not qualify as legally binding promissory notes.

In addition, the bottom halves of the same less than a page long financial aid applications contain information that indicates, that the applications were processed for financial aid other than loans – and I did receive such financial aid.

When I started the debt validation process, I did not know any of this. It has taken me a lot of work and time to find out the relevant details and information. This entire process has been very difficult, causing me a lot of mental suffering.

Based on my case I have to conclude that the Department of Education employees purposefully want to maintain their stronghold, hoping to eventually force me into paying them anyway, because they have a never ending ability to make monetary demands that they do not have to actually validate. Thus, they knowingly cause endless suffering.

There is nothing accidental about this. Based on the available evidence, in this case the Department of Education employees cause this suffering purposefully and deliberately. This must be stopped.

Does This Case Qualify as Involuntary Servitude?

This case is intended to benefit the U.S. Department of Education financially. Otherwise, this case would not exist.

There is no debt that the U.S. Department of Education is collecting money on. Instead, the information and the evidence that have been gathered overwhelmingly indicate that the U.S. Department of Education has been making monetary demands based on bad record keeping, which it tries to cover up. This relevant information and evidence have been gathered due to my work and efforts.

For over 3.5 years I have been forced to work on this U.S. Department of Education debt validation / bad record keeping cover-up case, without compensation, against my will. If I would not have worked on this case, I would be rendered into financial servitude, having to pay a debt that does not exist, and interest and penalties on top of nonexistent debt.

Thus, I have to work on this case, whether or not I want to do so, because the alternative is even worse.

Further, I do not have any security and safety in this case. Even though the Department of Education has not furnished requested validation that the alleged debt actually exists, based on their statements, they can force me to pay them, for example, through garnishing wages.

Based on the above, I conclude that I have been working, and continue to work, in involuntary servitude conditions.

For all practical purposes, in the U.S., other than courts, there is no independent institution that would handle such cases completely impartially and would also have the authority to advise the U.S. Department of Education, or to take corrective action, if wrongdoing by the U.S. Department of Education has occurred.

However, that does not mean that the U.S. Department of Education employees have the legal right to render individuals into involuntary servitude by using the special powers granted to them, as they have done in my case.

Request for Formal Statement Ending the Monetary Demands

I have requested that the Department of Education validates that (1) I received the alleged student loans and that the relevant debt exists, and (2) that the Department of Education holds relevant valid legally binding promissory note debt instruments, and (3) that the Department of Education is the legal owner of the relevant alleged debt.

Throughout the over 3.5 years long debt validation dispute, the Department of Education has failed in all three areas.

The Department of Education is not exempt from debt validation, and the Department of Education does not have the legal right to force a past student loan applicant to make payments on an unvalidated debt.

Accordingly, I request that the Department of Education ceases and desists making any further monetary demands and states in writing that the Department of Education will not under any circumstances take any actions and will not make any further demands regarding the specific previously claimed alleged debt, and will not authorize any individual, company, organization or institution to take any actions or to make any kinds of further demands regarding the specific previously claimed alleged debt.

Foundation for the Requests

In accordance with case law, (citing)

  • as assignees, the Guaranty Agencies and other secondary holders step into the shoes of the lender from whom they have taken the promissory notes and are subject to any defenses that the student/obligee may assert against the assignor/lender. See Jackson v. Culinary School of Washington, 788 F. Supp. 1233, 1248 n.9 (D.D.C. 1992), reversed on other grounds, 27 F.2d 573 (D.C. Cir. 1994), vacated, 515 U.S. 1139, on reconsideration, 59 F.3d 354 (D.C. Cir. 1995).

Please note, that the above citation is applicable to the time period when the alleged loans were made.

Accordingly, when the Department of Education becomes the holder of the promissory notes, it is not the original lender, nor the school involved, but the Department of Education that has to answer for actions related to originating and collecting the debt, as well as other potentially fraudulent aspects of an individual student loan cases.

In this case, legally binding promissory notes and debt either exist, or they do not exist.

If the Department of Education maintains a claim that it is the legal owner of legally binding promissory notes, I expect the Department of Education to furnish copies of the original legally binding promissory notes that are in accordance with Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) requirements for legally binding promissory notes. In that case, the Department of Education is also in the shoes of the lender. As lender, I expect the Department of Education to furnish proof, that the lending and borrowing transactions actually occurred and the corresponding debt obligations actually exist.

If the legally binding promissory notes do not exist, and there is no conclusive proof that the lending and borrowing transactions occurred, I expect the Department of Education to issue a statement clearly stating that it will end the unvalidated monetary demands.

Until then, I have to contact an ever increasing number of institutions and individuals, and during the next election cycle attempt to get national attention to the Department of Education’s operating practices, hoping that the next administration will follow more prudent policies. Thus, we have an everlasting dispute. Whom does that benefit?

I do believe, that it is in everybody’s interest to find a solution to this dispute.

Compensation

As is stated above, for over 3.5. years I have been forced to work on Department of Education debt validation / bad record keeping cover-up case, without compensation, against my will. I have been invoicing the Department of Education along the way. For the sake of the relevant information I am enclosing a copy of the latest invoice.

Please note, that the invoices that I have submitted to the Department of Education so far list only compensation for the amount of time that has been robbed from me, because I have been forced to work on the Department of Education debt validation / bad record keeping cover-up case. These invoices do not list compensation for any other type of harm caused and for the opportunities that I have had to forgo because I have had to invest my time into working on this case.

I will relinquish requests for compensation that is listed in the enclosed invoice, if the Department of Education in return officially declares that it will relinquish usage of the following operating practices:

  • Through usage of threats forcing a former student to work on a debt validation case that is intended to benefit the Department of Education financially.
  • Making monetary demands without having, and on request furnishing, validating proof that the corresponding lending and borrowing transactions have actually occurred.
  • Stating, that the Department of Education has in its possession original legally binding promissory notes, while in reality such documents do not exist.
  • Generating financial documents after a student graduates from college, claiming that these are copies of the original financial documents that were generated while the student attended college or university.
  • Entering records into a former student’s credit history after the student graduates from college or university without having, and on request furnishing, conclusive proof that the former student did receive the alleged money as loans either directly, or indirectly, as tuition support.
  • It is especially devious to enter records of unvalidated and non-existent loans into a former student’s credit history after the student graduates from college in response to student’s debt validation requests and while the former student is requesting debt validation, as was done in my case.

All of the above applies to my case. Thus, my case provides proof that the Department of Education does indeed use these operating practices. (As a relevant note I will add, that publishing this case on the Internet both provides information on the areas addressed here, and helps to increase awareness of these operating practices and of the importance of abolishing them.)

If we can put in place assurances, that nobody else has to go through the same ordeal in similar circumstances, we have made progress in ways that can actually help people. That would provide meaning to my several years long struggle.

Further, if we can resolve this dispute so, that the Department of Education agrees to relinquish usage of the operating practices listed above, there is an additional very important benefit to this. We can emphasize, that it is possible to resolve even complex disputes in a non-violent manner, without expensive court cases that financially are out of reach for most people.

I believe that we need more such examples from different areas of life, showing also clear pathways for non-violent and effective dispute resolution. Providing such examples is a process, not an event, and every little bit can help.

If the Department of Education refuses to relinquish usage of the operating practices listed above, naturally, a question arises: why? Why would the Department of Education still need to continue to operate in this manner?

Accounting Fraud Aspects of This Case

Publicly accessible sources state that the in-state cost of tuition to attend Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 ranged from $1,703 to $2,838 a year. The Department of Education insists, that as a student I borrowed $46,354.00 as principal, in addition to Rhode Island College Honors Scholarship, work-study financial aid and Pell Grant that I received. Please note, that I did not live on campus.

I graduated from college in 1996. According to the written correspondence received from the Department of Education, the Department of Education established its records in 2008. Based on the available evidence, the Department of Education established its records without existence of any documents that demonstrate that the underlying lending and borrowing transactions ever happened. Similarly, the Department of Education established its records without existence of valid legally binding promissory notes.

Out of the total amount of financial aid that I applied for as a student, the Department of Education picked approximately 80% as “loans,” apparently disregarding Rhode Island College Honors Scholarship, work-study financial aid and Pell Grant that I received. It is unknown, how that loan creating process took place. What is known, is that this process took place after I graduated and without evidence that the relevant amounts are accurate – or even plausible.

Accordingly, based on my documented experience, the U.S. Department of Education creates and maintains assets without having the necessary corresponding debt instruments that meet the commonly accepted criteria, such as Uniform Commercial Code that applies to promissory notes.

As far as I know, such fictional balance sheet entry creating and maintaining without having the actual corresponding assets is illegal. Over the last decades, most of the accounting scandals (Enron, WorldCom, Waste Management, etc.) have been related to fictional assets and/or revenue creating. The same seems to apply to the U.S. Department of Education operations.

My experience with the U.S. Department of Education has been documented. While I am just one individual, I believe that this case has much broader ramifications. Many investors invest their money in the U.S. government bonds, so, clarity in this area is necessary. As part of a full relevant disclosure, these investors deserve to know if certain parts of the U.S. government have been creating assets without having the necessary corresponding debt instruments.

Accordingly, I do believe that thorough auditing of the U.S. Department of Education by an impartial entity can reveal, in how many instances assets have been created without the corresponding financial instruments, such as legally binding promissory note and a legally binding contract between an alleged borrower and lender.

Further, based on my personal experience I know, that in order to turn the fictional revenue streams and assets into real ones, the U.S. Department of Education uses extortion-like techniques, such as threats, false statements, document fabrication, intimidation and bullying.

Even when it is clear, that the U.S. Department of Education is unable to verify that the debt and corresponding debt obligations actually exist, the U.S. Department of Education refuses to end its unvalidated monetary demands and to close the case as requested. Behind this refusal may also be the need to keep in the books the fictional assets.

Briefly, the U.S. Department of Education operates by using the powers granted to it to demand money from an individual, while disregarding the fact that the corresponding debt and debt obligations do not exist.

Please note, that I have documents to prove that the above applies to my case. So, I hope that this will not become one of these “I told you so” cases, where initial alerts do not result in any substantive investigative action, but years later a great deal of wrongdoing is being found.

My Objectives and Objectivity and Subjectivity of this Case

This dispute with the U.S. Department of Education overlaps several areas: legal, financial, human rights and civil rights. I have been contacting, and will continue to contact, individuals and institutions from all of these areas, presenting evidence of wrongdoing by the U.S. Department of Education, until the U.S. Department of Education finally ends the unvalidated demands and issues a statement that I have been requesting.

However, even if the unvalidated demands end, based on the available information the fact remains that assets were maintained without having the necessary corresponding debt instruments that meet the commonly accepted criteria.

Does the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau consider such asset creating and maintaining to be acceptable?

Further, if the Department of Education, that operates as a financial institution, is allowed to create assets this way, then why would not other institutions, companies and organizations be allowed to operate the same way?

From personal perspective I will say that I do believe that justice exists in the United States of America. Thus, I believe that eventually I will prevail. To me, these statements are highly meaningful.

All the information that I present here is inevitably presented from my point of view. However, I also try to present it as accurately and objectively as I can. While my opinion of the U.S. Department of Education is not high, the information presented here is above all based on the facts that are available to me.

If the U.S. Department of Education would work the same way, presenting the facts about the alleged debt and debt obligations, we would not have this dispute. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education’s case is primarily based on opinions and generalizations, and statements like the following: “Schools frequently apply the funds from student loans to enrollment expenses, such as tuition, fees and other school charges. Students frequently do not directly receive the funds.” From this I am supposed to conclude, that the same applies to my case – and this is also supposed to be the validating proof, that my tuition and fees were paid with student loans, and not with other types of financial aid that I know I received.

Below is additional information on this case background.

Monetary Demands Made Based on Fraudulent Claims

The Department of Education claimed, that it has my original promissory notes in its possession. Later it turned out that such documents simply do not exist.

Similarly, the Department of Education has stated that in 1997 Fleet Bank, a private lender, submitted insurance claims to a guaranty agency, and the guaranty agency made monetary payments to Fleet Bank.

However, the only records that the Department of Education is able to furnish as proof of these transactions are internal documents – for all practical purposes scratch papers – that any employee could have filled in at any point in time. If these transactions did actually occur, then why aren’t there any documents showing that Fleet Bank submitted claims, and that guaranty agency made payments to Fleet Bank? If these transactions actually took place, then why did the guaranty agency chose to retain for years irrelevant scratch paper, instead of records of actual transactions?

Extortionist Techniques Used by the Department of Education

The Department of Education demands that I must prove that I did not receive bank loans – even though the demands have not been validated. Thus, I am asked to prove that I did not receive nonexistent loans.

Because of the special powers granted to the Department of Education, the Department of Education can go on and on with these circular demands.

The Department of Education operates under a business model, where it uses the powers granted to this institution and keeps making unvalidated demands and pressuring the former student to make payments on unvalidated debt, even though, based on the available information, the debt does not exist.

Fraudulent Computer Record Generating

I graduated from college in 1996. In 2012 the Department of Education sent me what they claimed to be copies of my original Notice of Loan Guarantee and Disclosure Statements. However, it turned out that these statements were generated in 2012 by entering my current information into a computer system in 2012 – more than 15 years after I graduated from college.

Credit Report Entries Made For the Purpose of Bullying

In June of 2014 I found out that the Department of Education had reported the unvalidated, non-existent student loans to Experian credit bureau, as if these were actual loans in collection.

To put things into perspective, I stared requesting debt validation in December of 2011 after I had received a student loan collection letter. At the time of my writing this letter, this debt validation dispute is ongoing, with no end in sight. Department of Education’s reporting of the fictional loans to a credit bureau started in 06/2012 and ended in 08/2013.

At the time when the Department of Education chose to report these fictional records as actual loans to a credit bureau, it must have been clear to the Department of Education, that there are no documents showing that I ever received any of these alleged loans either directly or indirectly, as tuition support. Similarly, it must have been clear to the Department of Education, that there are no actual promissory notes or contracts involved here.

Because the loans do not exist, the Department of Education is not collecting any monthly revenue on them either.

Thus, I have to conclude that the reason that the Department of Education chose to report these fictional records as actual loans to a credit bureau was bullying. People at the Department of Education wanted to show how powerful they are and what I can do to me.

These fraudulently reported records prevented me from obtaining credit, from renting an apartment, and from seeking employment. Thus, these actions caused me harm.

On 06/23/14 I contacted the Department of Education and requested removal of these records. The Department of Education responded, refusing to remove the fraudulently reported records.

On 03/16/15 I contacted Experian North America credit bureau, which removed these records from my credit report.

Refusal to Honor Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request

Following the instructions that I received from Naomi Randolph, Special Assistant, Operations Services, Federal Student Aid, I submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Education first on 07/15/13. I received a response stating that I must sign a specific statement. I did so. Then I received yet another request to sign yet another statement, where I had to declare under penalty of perjury that the information that I have provided about this case is true to the best of my knowledge. I did sign that specific statement as well.

After my third FOIA request, I received the United States Department of Education FOIA REQUEST ACKNOWLEDGEMENT, which states that the date the request was received was August 20, 2013. The FOIA tracking number of my request is XX-XXXXX-XX

The Department of Education has not explained what legal right did the Department of Education have to refuse to process my FOIA request until I had singed a statement under penalty of perjury.

I did receive a response to my FOIA request. The response, dated 03/11/14, states that my FOIA request “was forwarded to the appropriate office within the Department to search for documents that may be responsive to my request,” and the Office of Business Operations in FSA was “unable to locate any records responsive to my request.”

However, previously the Department of Education has stated that it has information on my receipt of grants. Thus, the FOIA response is in conflict with the information that the Department of Education has previously provided.

Accordingly, on 05/19/14 I contacted Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), National Archives and Records Administration. I received a response, dated 12/12/14, and requested clarification in a letter dated 02/09/15.

Consequently I also received a response form the Department of Education FOIA Unit, dated 03/09/2014, even though the letter was actually sent to me in 2015. In that letter the Department of Education FOIA Unit representative claimed, that they sent me 386 pages of information that is responsive to my FOIA request. In reality, 84% or 324 pages out of the total of 386 pages of the material that I received, were copies of my letters to the U.S. Department of Education, requesting validation of the alleged debt. Further, this material contained duplicated copies of my letters – apparently, in an attempt to generate more volume of the “legitimate support material,” the U.S. Department of Education FOIA Unit sent me 2 copies of my debt validation request letters to the Department of Education.

The rest of the material was copies of computer screen snapshots and other internal records that apparently were generated after I graduated from college. I did not receive any of the requested information that would demonstrate, that the alleged lending and borrowing transactions actually took place, and that I received any of the alleged loans either directly or indirectly, as tuition support.

On 05/04/2015 I responded, requesting information on work-study financial aid. For some reason, the Department of Education FOIA Unit has not sent me information in the latter area.

At the time of writing this letter to you, I am waiting for the relevant information from the Department of Education FOIA Unit.

So, the case continues. However, as I stated above, I do believe that it is in everybody’s interest to find a solution to this dispute.

Thomas Eklund

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