Joel Tucker is finding himself in hotter water these days. Tucker, who has already been charged with selling fake loan portfolios, has now been indicted in Missouri on 15 counts of interstate transportation of stolen money, bankruptcy fraud, and falsifying bankruptcy records in relation to selling portfolios of fake payday loans.
Joel Tucker, along with his brother Scott, have become infamous names in the payday lending and debt-buying worlds in recent years as their alleged misdeeds have caught up to them. Scott Tucker has been ordered to repay $1.3 billion in a payday lending scheme, which represents the fourth settlement he has had with the Federal Trade Commission. Prosecutors allege that,
… Tucker defrauded third party debt collectors and millions of individuals listed as debtors through the sale of falsified debt portfolios. These portfolios were false in that Tucker did not have chain of title to the debt, the loans were not necessarily true debts, and the dates, amounts, and lenders were inaccurate and in some cases fictional. In his bankruptcy fraud scheme, Tucker also sold fake debt, which entered the United States Bankruptcy Courts nationwide, and then made false statements and presented false information to the Bankruptcy Court and violated court orders to conceal his sales of fake debt.
In selling the fake portfolios, Tucker earned more than $7 million, prosecutors allege.
The indictments were dated June 5 but were unsealed last week after Joel Tucker was arrested. A copy of the indictment can be accessed by clicking here.
Tucker operated a number of companies which acted as lead generators for payday lenders. Tucker would collect information from individuals and then sell that information to a network of 70 payday lenders. After selling the company and retaining a file of nearly 8 million leads, Tucker began to use that information and instead sell fake portfolios of debt, prosecutors allege. He would create fake contracts to make it look like he owned the portfolios and then sell them through debt brokers as a means of distancing himself from the transaction.
Tucker, either directly or through a debt broker, represented that he owned the debt. Tucker sold the debt in the form of spreadsheets created from his 7.8 file. The spreadsheets, also called debt portfolios, contained customer names, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, bank accounts, email addresses, employers, and references. Most of this information was accurate and allowed the debt purchasers to contact the customers and attempt to collect the debt. Thus, Tucker placed in the hands of debt collectors the means through which they could mislead customers regarding their debt obligations. Some customers actually paid the debt collectors out of fear or confusion about what they owed.