The court-appointed attorney for Leawood resident Scott Tucker, accused of running an illegal payday loan operation, asked a judge overseeing a criminal case to delay the trial scheduled to start in October.
James Roth, a New York attorney assigned last week to handle Tucker’s federal criminal case, wrote in a letter to a judge in New York that he could be ready for trial by April 1, 2017 — calling that date a “conservative estimate, but one that is feasible and essential under the circumstances.”
Roth cited the volume of evidence that the government has amassed to support charges against Tucker — 800 gigabytes of data and approximately 8 million documents — as the reason the October trial date was impracticable.
“The discovery, in part, consists of sixteen years of financial records of banks and multiple entities owned by Mr. Tucker, Mr. Tucker’s financial records, extensive prior litigation, web content, tax records, business records of three Native American tribes, thousands of audio files which have not been transcribed, correspondence and emails,” Roth wrote in a June 17 letter to U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel. “My understanding is that only one half of this data has been processed.”
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Castel last week assigned Roth to represent Tucker in criminal proceedings after his private attorneys had to withdraw from the case. His former attorneys cited an asset freeze imposed by a federal judge in Nevada handling a separate civil case against Tucker, which made it impossible for Tucker to pay for his legal team.
Roth estimated that Tucker’s previous legal team had spent about 350 hours each month for the last four years on a separate investigation of Tucker by the Federal Trade Commission on charges that “are much narrower in scope than this indictment and involve a smaller universe of discovery documents.”
The FTC since 2012 has investigated Tucker, who is also a professional race car driver, on suspicion that Tucker and others ran a payday lending enterprise that charged interest rates that exceeded legal limits in several states. The FTC believes Tucker ran the entities out of nominal tribal corporations that aren’t subject to state laws, when in fact the bulk of his operation actually worked out of Overland Park.
In February, a grand jury in New York indicted Tucker on charges that he ran a $2 billion payday loan operation that exploited 4.5 million consumers, as well as charges of unlawfully collecting debt and racketeering.
Tucker pleaded not guilty and denied wrongdoing.
Castel took Roth’s April 2017 trial request under consideration.
Steve Vockrodt: 816-234-4277