Defendants Exploited Over 4.5 Million Financially Struggling Americans Through Unlawful Scheme to Evade State Usury Laws
Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that SCOTT TUCKER and TIMOTHY MUIR were convicted after a five-week jury trial on all fourteen counts against them, for operating a nationwide internet payday lending enterprise that systematically evaded state laws in order to charge illegal interest rates as high as 1000% on loans.
- In order to create the illusion that the Tribes owned and controlled TUCKER’s payday lending business, TUCKER and MUIR engaged in a series of lies and deceptions. Among other things:MUIR and other counsel for TUCKER prepared false factual declarations from tribal representatives that were submitted to state courts, falsely claiming, among other things, that tribal corporations substantively owned, controlled, and managed the portions of TUCKER’s business targeted by state enforcement actions.
- TUCKER opened bank accounts to operate and receive the profits of the payday lending enterprise, which were nominally held by tribally owned corporations, but which were, in fact, owned and controlled by TUCKER. TUCKER received over $380 million from these accounts on lavish personal expenses, some of which was spent on a fleet of Ferraris and Porsches, the expenses of a professional auto racing team, a private jet, a luxury home in Aspen, Colorado, and his personal taxes.
- Employees of TUCKER making payday loans over the phone told borrowers, using scripts directed and approved by TUCKER and MUIR, that they were operating in Oklahoma and Nebraska, where the Tribes were located, when in fact they were operating at TUCKER’s corporate headquarters in Kansas in order to deceive borrowers into believing that they were dealing with Native American tribes.
Statement Of Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim On The Convictions Of Scott Tucker And Timothy Muir For Unlawful Payday Lending Enterprise
Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim stated: “As a unanimous jury found today, Scott Tucker and Timothy Muir targeted and exploited millions of struggling, everyday Americans by charging them illegally high interest rates on payday loans, as much as 700 percent. Tucker and Muir sought to get away with their crimes by claiming that this $3.5 billion business was actually owned and operated by Native American tribes. But that was a lie. The jury saw through Tucker and Muir’s lies and saw their business for what it was – an illegal and predatory scheme to take callous advantage of vulnerable workers living from paycheck to paycheck.”