Business

Judge orders the sale of Leawood payday loan kingpin Scott Tucker’s private jet

Scott Tucker, a Leawood resident who was a race car driver, faces an April 17, 2017, trial in Manhattan, N.Y., on federal charges related to his $2 billion payday loan enterprise that prosecutors say exploited 4.5 million consumers with deceptive loan terms and usurious interest rates.
Scott Tucker, a Leawood resident who was a race car driver, faces an April 17, 2017, trial in Manhattan, N.Y., on federal charges related to his $2 billion payday loan enterprise that prosecutors say exploited 4.5 million consumers with deceptive loan terms and usurious interest rates. File

Scott Tucker’s Learjet, currently sitting unused outside a hangar in Chesterfield, Mo., will go up for sale.

A federal judge in New York gave the Internal Revenue Service permission to put the 1994 Learjet owned by Tucker on the market following the government’s request to sell the private jet in July.

Tucker, a Leawood resident, faces an April 17, 2017, trial in Manhattan, N.Y., on federal charges related to his $2 billion payday loan enterprise that prosecutors say exploited 4.5 million consumers with deceptive loan terms and usurious interest rates. Tucker, who raced cars professionally, has pleaded not guilty and denies wrongdoing in the case.

A grand jury indicted Tucker on criminal charges in February following a years-long investigation of Tucker’s business practices by the Federal Trade Commission. A judge overseeing the FTC case in March froze nearly all of Tucker’s assets — bank accounts, property, advance legal fees to his attorneys and so on. The grand jury indictment also sought a $2 billion forfeiture order against Tucker, which included his Model 60 Learjet.

The jet is owned by ST Capital LLC, an entity wholly owned by Tucker.

Federal prosecutors in July alerted the judge handling Tucker’s criminal case that Tucker had stopped paying for maintenance and storage for the Learjet and requested permission to sell it before its value diminished further.

Tucker, according to court filings, had stopped paying fees to a hangar at the Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield, and the hangar operator moved it outside. Prosecutors argued that victims of Tucker’s alleged crimes would have less to recover in restitution should Tucker be found guilty if the jet is allowed to deteriorate as it sits outside a hangar, exposed to the elements.

Kevin Castel, the U.S. Southern District of New York judge overseeing Tucker’s criminal case, found the government’s arguments persuasive and put the IRS in charge of selling the jet. Money made from the sale will sit in an account pending the outcome of Tucker’s case. The IRS was instructed to reject offers from buyers associated with Tucker or his businesses.

Steve Vockrodt: 816-234-4277, @st_vockrodt

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