Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim announced Friday two men were found guilty of running an online payday lending enterprise that charged interest as high as 100% on short-term, small, unsecured and high-interest loans.
Fifty-five-year-old Scott Tucker and 46-year-old Timothy Muir engaged in making payday loans from 1997 until 2013. Tucker had about 1,500 employees based in Overland Park, Kansas and did business as OneclickCash, fka Preferred Cash Loans; Ameriloan, fka Cash Advance; United Cash Loans; 500 FastCash; US FastCash; Star Cash Processing and Advantage Cash Services, according to court documents.
Muir was the general counsel for Tucker’s payday lending businesses since 2006. He was known for charging interest rates of 600%, 700% and more than 1,000%, serving over 4.5 million people nationwide, including over 250,000 people from New York.
New York laws forbid lending at exorbitant interest rates. Tucker Payday Lenders would withdraw the interest rate from some customers’ checking account, leaving the principal balance untouched until at least the fifth payment, at which time an addition $50 was withdrawn and applied to the principal balance. On a $650 loan, Muir and Tucker would charge $1,425 for a total payment of $1,925.
Tucker received more than $380 billion from accounts nominally held by tribally owned corporations. He lived a lavish lifestyle, purchasing Porsches and Ferraris and a luxury home is Aspen, Colorado.
Muir and Tucker were found guilty of money laundering, wire fraud, participating in a racketeering enterprise through the collection of unlawful debt and violating TILA.