The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department announced yesterday that they are mailing more than 1 million checks, representing a total of more than $505 million to individuals who were victims of Scott Tucker’s payday lending scam.
Tucker was convicted and sentenced earlier this year to nearly 17 years in prison for illegally accessing the bank accounts of individuals who took out payday loans with his companies to withdraw interest payments, but not taking out any money to pay down the principal on the loans. Tucker was also accused of filing false tax returns.
Tucker’s brother, Joel, has been indicted for his role in selling portfolios of fake debts to unsuspecting debt buyers.
The $505 million represents what prosecutors and the federal government have been able to recover from Scott Tucker and his businesses. Scott Tucker also had a $1.3 billion judgment levied against him as part of his sentence. Individuals who took out loans prior to 2013 with one of seven companies — AMG Services: 500FastCash, Advantage Cash Services, Ameriloan, OneClickCash, Star Cash Processing, UnitedCashLoans, and USFastCash — are receiving the refund checks.
On average, each check will be for about $421.
The $505 million is the largest redress amount in the history of the FTC.
Scott Tucker, who was a former professional racer driver, earned more than $400 million by managing a $2 billion payday lending operation that exploited more than 4 million individuals. Tucker’s scam was to make it appear as though the companies he operated were actually being run by Native American tribes, which allowed him to skirt state usury laws on how much interest could be charged on the loans.