Executive arrested in $28M student loan debt relief scheme

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An executive charged with bilking consumers out of $28 million in a student loan debt relief scam has been arrested in San Francisco.

The U.S. attorney's office says Brandon Frere was taken into custody Wednesday night at San Francisco International Airport while trying to fly to Mexico.

He appeared in federal court Thursday on a charge of wire fraud. It's unclear whether he has an attorney.

Frere is president, chief executive officer and primary shareholder of three companies: Ameritech Financial, American Financial Benefits Center and Financial Education Benefits Center.

Authorities say the firms collected fees to supposedly help student loan holders get into debt repayment or forgiveness programs.

But prosecutors say none of the money went to repay loans. Instead, millions allegedly were funneled into Frere's private accounts.