Legal

Tucker Gets 16-Year Sentence In Payday Lending Case

Tribal payday lending

Race car driver and Kansas businessman Scott Tucker has been sentenced to 16 years and eight months in jail for crimes associated with Tucker’s payday lending business. According to a report in Reuters, the sentencing came down from U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan.

In October, The Wall Street Journal, citing a Manhattan court ruling, reported that a federal jury found Tucker guilty of violating federal truth in lending and racketeering laws via dealings in his $2 billion payday lending business. Prosecutors have contended that the payday lending business made more than $3.5 billion by creating illegal partnerships, making predatory loans and preying on millions of consumers in need of money.

In addition to Tucker, the jury also convicted 46-year-old Timothy Muir, who was a former lawyer for Tucker and also his co-defendant. Muir was sentenced to seven years in jail.

While Tucker didn't make any comments during his sentencing, he did refer to a letter he submitted to the court in December in which he said he was “remorseful” and that he did not “recognize my responsibility to live as a good and fair businessman, employer and American citizen.” Judge Castel, however saw the letter has further evidence that Tucker doesn’t view his conduct as criminal in nature.

After the four-week trial in October, the jury found Tucker and Muir guilty of money laundering, wire fraud, racketeering and violating lending laws, among other counts. Tucker was charged with running a company that illegally tacked on as high as 700 percent interest on short-term loans, which were issued to more than 4.5 million people. His company was accused of hiding loan terms in paperwork in an attempt to trick consumers.

Prosecutors also held that Tucker used fake partnerships with Native American tribes to skirt laws that require lenders to cap loan interest amounts. An attorney for Tucker had argued that the agreements with the Native American tribes were legal, and that the terms of the loans were disclosed to the customers.

Lee Ginsberg, a lawyer for Tucker, told The Wall Street Journal that he plans to appeal.

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