U.S. Sues Ferrari-Racing Payday Mogul to Seize $48 Million

  • Tucker accused of operating massive payday lending scheme
  • Government seeks revenue tied to alleged money laundering

The U.S. is trying to seize $48 million from Ferrari-racing payday loan mogul Scott Tucker, saying he illicitly transferred the funds into bank accounts of three Native American tribes to conceal his ownership and control.

Tucker was accused in February of money-laundering and other charges for allegedly running his payday loan businesses as a racketeering scheme.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who filed the charges against Tucker as part of a crackdown on lenders that charge interest rates of more than 700 percent, said in a civil complaint Wednesday that entities only nominally owned by the tribes have entered into non-prosecution agreements with his office that prevents them from being charged by prosecutors in exchange for their cooperation.

Bharara says Tucker’s operation, including his Overland, Kansas-based AMG Services Inc. , generated more than $2 billion in revenue. The government seeks to confiscate funds it says are linked to Tucker as well as property in Aspen, Colorado, a Learjet, six Ferraris and four Porsches, claiming they were bought with proceeds of his crimes.  Tucker has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In a separate case last year, lenders affiliated with Tucker that operated under Native American tribal sovereignty paid $21 million and waived $285 million in charges assessed against consumers but not collected to settle claims brought by the Federal Trade Commission, the largest recovery in a payday lending case brought by that agency.
A federal judge must now decide whether the funds must be forfeited to the U.S. His lawyer, Paul Shechtman, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment about the suit.

The case is U.S. v. $48 Million in U.S. Currency, 16-cv-02337, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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