Scott Tucker, a Leawood payday loan businessman who is fighting civil and criminal legal battles against the federal government, cannot tap into frozen assets to pay for monthly living expenses, a judge has ruled.
Gloria Navarro, chief judge for the U.S. District of Nevada, denied Tucker’s request to continue living on $8,000 a month.
Tucker is under an extensive asset freeze stemming from a civil lawsuit that the Federal Trade Commission filed against him in 2012. The FTC accused Tucker and others of running a payday lending enterprise that extended short-term loans that charged undisclosed and improper fees. It also said Tucker affiliated his businesses with Native American tribes, which are not subject to state regulations on interest rates for payday loans.
On March 31, Navarro ordered that Tucker’s assets — bank accounts, credit cards, property and so on — be frozen after finding that the FTC’s investigation had shown evidence that Tucker was running a deceptive lending enterprise. The FTC sought the asset freeze in order to preserve funds for victims of the allegedly illegal payday loan scheme in the event that the federal regulator prevails in its case against Tucker.
In February, a federal grand jury in New York indicted Tucker on criminal charges related to his business activities.
Tucker has denied wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to the federal criminal charges against him. He’s set to go to trial April 17.
Navarro’s March 31 asset freeze allowed Tucker and his family to live on $75,000 for the next two months. Afterward, Tucker was allowed $8,000 a month until Aug. 31 to pay for living expenses.
With the arrangement set to expire Aug. 31, Tucker’s lawyers sought permission to continue the monthly $8,000 allowance until the end of the year.
But the FTC objected, saying Tucker and his wife had lived off of $99,000 over the last five months and “continued their profligate lifestyle including spa, steakhouse, country club and liquor purchases.”
Once the arrangement expired, there was no agreement permitting an allowance for Tucker.
Navarro’s order also noted that Tucker had withdrawn $27,000 in cash without providing evidence to show it was used for reasonable living expenses.
Her order left open the possibility of modifying the asset freeze if the Tuckers can show that they lack income or assets to pay their living expenses.