Business

Feds to return $505 million to consumers duped by Scott Tucker’s payday loan scheme

Scott Tucker is seen here in his Leawood home during an interview with Netflix for its "Dirty Money" series.
Scott Tucker is seen here in his Leawood home during an interview with Netflix for its "Dirty Money" series. File

Scores of consumers swindled by former race car driver Scott Tucker’s illegal payday loan businesses will receive refund checks worth a combined $505 million from federal agencies who investigated the disgraced Leawood businessman.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department announced Thursday that it is mailing out more than 1 million checks to consumers of Tucker’s businesses from 2008 to 2013.

The agencies evaluated loan portfolios from seven of Tucker’s brands under his company, AMG Services — 500FastCash, Advantage Cash Services, Ameriloan, OneClickCash, Star Cash Processing, UnitedCashLoans and USFastCash — to find consumers who took the short-term loans.

The FTC’s refund from Tucker’s businesses is said to be the largest in agency history.

Elliott J. Clark, 65, of Kansas City, MO, spent five years caught in the debt trap of payday loan interest when his wife's broken ankle began his high-interest cycle trap.

Earlier this year, Tucker started serving a 16-year, eight-month prison sentence following his conviction on a number of federal charges related to his payday loan scam. Jurors found Tucker’s businesses extended loans that had deceptive terms and illegally high interest rates. Tucker’s attorney, Tim Muir, was also convicted of the same charges and sentenced to serve seven years in prison.

Tucker, who rose to prominence locally as a professional race car driver, earned a fortune — more than $400 million — from his payday loan businesses that authorities described as a $2 billion operation that exploited 4 million consumers.

Tucker’s businesses operated largely out of Overland Park, even as he designed a scheme that created the impression that they operated off of American Indian tribes in Nebraksa and Oklahama, where state laws on unreasonably high interest rates wouldn’t apply. Tucker’s businesses helped cement Kansas City’s image as a capital for illegal payday loan activity. Several similar businesses started in here.

The FTC sued Tucker and his businesses in 2012, later winning a judgment of $1.3 billion, a record for the agency. Tucker is appealing both the FTC case and his criminal conviction.

The $505 million represents money that the FTC and Justice Department have recovered from Tucker and his businesses since his conviction.

The fallout from Tucker did not stop with his prison sentence: U.S. Bancorp, the holding company for U.S. Bank, paid a $528 million penalty for failing to report signs of money laundering with his accounts with his bank.

His brother, Joel Tucker, has been indicted on charges relating to creating fake payday loan portfolios and selling them to debt collectors, who then went after consumers who didn’t owe the debts.

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