Judge Comes Down Hard on Payday Lender Scott Tucker

Thanks to the orders of a federal judge, payday lending magnate Scott Tucker (and his wife) will have to adhere to a strict allowance for the next few months. The couple is allowed to spend no more than $150,000 on legal fees and expenses during that time. Most of us could probably get by pretty well on that kind of money. For Tucker, though, it will likely prove to be quite a shock. He has grown accustomed to a high-living lifestyle that they have enjoyed for quite some time. Tucker has made a fortune from his wide array of payday lending businesses.

Tucker, who likes to spend his spare time racing cars, is currently under criminal indictment in New York. The charges brought up against him are connected to his payday lending outlets. Federal prosecutors say that he operated a racketeering operation and participated in predatory lending practices. The businesses added up to such a fortune that they make the $150,000 allowance look like chump change.

Prior to his indictment, the FTC was running a long term investigation. Only three years ago, the FTC found that Tucker’s various businesses had a huge bank balance of over $212 million. To make that much money, according to the FTC, Tucker was the head of an unscrupulous payday lending operation. Tucker got started back in the late 90s, and put together lending companies that charged rates that were higher than allowed by state regulations. Several different investigating bodies have claimed that tucker incorporated his companies on Native American reservations, so that he would be able to get around state payday lending regulations and disclosure laws.

Back in the spring of 2013, things started changing rapidly for Tucker. There were a lot of quick money transfers and closing of some of the company bank accounts. These activities were enough to persuade a federal judge who was in charge of the FTC case that the payday lending giant was making efforts to conceal or dissipate his fortune.

According to the judge’s order, Tucker’s current assets are not worth more than $125 million. That is a lot less than the nearly $1.3 billion that the FTC has made efforts to recover from Tucker’s businesses. The higher figure is representative of money that the FTC says consumers overpaid on the loans they received from Tucker’s various payday lending businesses.

Gloria Navarro is the chief judge for the U.S. District of Nevada. Recently, she ordered that Tucker’s assets be frozen as part of the ruling against him and his companies. This amounts to his bank accounts being frozen, credit cards being unusable and access to physical cash in safe deposit boxes not being allowed.

The order was officially announced on March 31st. It stated that the FTC has sufficiently proved that over the past three years Scott Tucker and his brother Blaine tucker ran a huge payday loan enterprise and that the two “acted with reckless indifference to the truth or falsity or an awareness of fraud and an intentional avoidance of the truth.” Blaine Tucker took his own life in 2014.

Things are looking pretty grim for Tucker in the future. As the remainder of this case begins to shake out, Tucker and his wife will have to learn to make do with the relatively restrictive allowance that the judge has put in place. It is unlikely that either of them will be able to live the kind of extravagant lifestyle that they were previously accustomed to. In fact, Tucker may very well be lucky to get out of this mess without having to forfeit nearly everything that he owns; judging by the efforts that the FTC has put into bringing this case to life.


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