Office of the Attorney General
Attorneys General Join Holly Petraeus to Discuss Consumer Protection Issues with Fort Campbell Troops

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, August 24, 2011  
Contact Information:  Shelley Catharine Johnson
Deputy Communications Director
502-696-5659 (office)

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper and Holly Petraeus, Director of the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau's (CPFB) Office of Servicemember Affairs (OSA), joined forces today to hear firsthand the financial challenges that Fort Campbell soldiers and their families face as a result of unscrupulous business practices.

"Our military service men and women, who risk their lives every day to protect our nation, should not have to defend themselves and their families against unscrupulous businesses or illegal financial practices," General Conway said. "I am pleased to be partnering with Attorney General Cooper, Mrs. Petraeus and Maj. Gen. James McConnville and his staff at Ft. Campbell to help provide our soldiers with the tools and information they need and to offer our assistance if they feel they have been scammed."

During a roundtable discussion and town hall style meeting today, the attorneys general, staff members from their consumer protection divisions, Mrs. Petraeus and members of Fort Campbell's Consumer Affairs Office were able to hear directly from soldiers about making sound financial decisions and consumer purchases. The officials also encouraged soldiers who feel they may have been taken advantage of to file complaints.

"Few things are as reprehensible as conduct which exploits the fine men and women serving our country in the Armed Forces," said Attorney General Cooper. "My Office continues to work hard to make sure soldiers and their families are treated fairly."

Attorneys General Conway and Cooper have both pledged their support to coordinate their activities to improve consumer protection measures for military families.

Holly Petraeus, wife of newly appointed CIA Director and Army Gen. David Petraeus, knows all too well the strains facing America's troops and their families. Formerly with the Better Business Bureau's Military Line program, Mrs. Petraeus is now heading the newly created Office of Servicemember Affairs (OSA).

"Congress, in creating the OSA, recognized that protecting our service members from suffering financial repercussions for answering the call to service is not only the right thing to do – it is also important to our national security," she said recently in a statement to members of Congress. "Military personnel who are distracted by financial problems cannot do their jobs to the best of their abilities."

Mrs. Petraeus reminds service members that she and her husband were once a young military couple and were stationed at Fort Campbell, a place close to her heart.

So far this year, Fort Campbell's Consumer Affairs Office has assisted more than 1,300 soldiers and their family members with a variety of issues including identity theft, credit reports, vehicle purchases, foreclosure avoidance, investment products and work at home scams. Additionally, Fort Campbell soldiers were targeted as part of a recent housing scheme that resulted in the loss of thousands of dollars for its victims.

Some For-Profit Colleges Target Service Members, Veterans

There is also growing concern about the aggressive pursuit of veterans and military personnel by some for-profit colleges.

"I am concerned that certain for-profit colleges are aggressively pursuing service men and women to gain access to their GI Bill benefits by deceptive means," said General Conway, who is leading a national bipartisan effort, which now includes 20 states, to examine potential abuses within the industry. "I want to ensure that overaggressive recruiters are not preying on our military personnel and making promises they cannot deliver."

For-profit schools, which receive nearly 90 percent of their revenue from federal taxpayer dollars, have the highest student loan default rates in the higher education industry. Attorney General Conway recently filed consumer protection enforcement actions against Daymar College and Education Management Corporation (EDMC), the parent company of Brown Mackie Colleges. Conway's office has active investigations examining the activities of five other proprietary colleges operating in Kentucky.