Kansas man ignores sentence for debt sales scam

Photo of Tucker Johnson County

KANSAS CITY (AP) – A federal judge on Thursday issued an arrest warrant for a Kansas man who ignored his conviction for a million-dollar debt-selling scam.

Joel Tucker, of Prairie Village, pleaded guilty last year to charges of carrying stolen money, bankruptcy fraud and tax evasion.

His attorneys said Thursday that Tucker was in Colorado grappling with a critical family situation, the Kansas City Star reported.

United States District Court Judge Roseann Ketchmark issued the arrest warrant and scheduled a new sentencing hearing for Tuesday.

Most of Tucker’s accusations stem from his selling false consumer information to debt collectors, who then tried to get consumers to pay off debts they didn’t owe. In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission secured a $ 4 million judgment against Tucker for the same scam.

Tucker’s brother, former professional racing car driver Scott Tucker, is serving a sentence of nearly 17 years in federal prison for carrying out an illegal payday loan operation in Overland Park which federal authorities say exploited over 2 million borrowers.

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KANSAS CITY – A Kansas man pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to engaging in two separate fraud schemes linked to millions of dollars in bogus payday loans and tax evasion totaling more than $ 8 million, according to the United States Attorney’s Office.

“This well-dressed thief has victimized millions of Americans whose personal information has been fraudulently sold to debt collectors,” Garrison said. “Some of these victims, in their fear and confusion, actually paid off debts they didn’t have. And by hiding his income and property, then lying about it to federal agents, he has victimized every honest citizen who obeys the law and pays his income taxes. His theft allowed him to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle for a short time, but he will not be entitled to such luxury in a federal prison.

“Today, Mr. Tucker admitted that he evaded payment of the taxes assessed against him. Although he received millions of dollars, Mr. Tucker used these funds to maintain a lavish lifestyle and not fulfill his civic duty, ”said Adam Steiner, Acting Special Agent in charge of the St. Louis. “We are committed to the IRS and the Department of Justice to end tax evasion, and the facts outlined in today’s plea are strong indicators that we can and will uncover this fraudulent activity. “

Joel Jerome Tucker, 51, Prairie Village, Kansas, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark to one count of transporting stolen money across state lines, one count of bankruptcy fraud and one count of tax evasion.

Tucker, working through various companies, handled the payday loan businesses. The names of Tucker’s companies have changed over the years; the main company was eData Solutions, LLC. eData, formally registered on July 29, 2009, did not grant loans directly to borrowers; it collected information about loan applications, called leads, and sold those leads to its approximately 70 payday lender clients. As a loan manager, eData has also provided software for payday lenders.

Tucker and the other eData owners sold the business to the Wyandotte Indian Tribe in 2012. However, despite the sale of his stake in eData, Tucker kept a record of 7.8 million leads that he had acquired through eData, containing detailed customer information (including names, addresses, bank accounts, social security numbers, dates of birth, etc.). eData had collected detailed customer information from online payday loan applications or inquiries to its payday lending customers; the file did not represent the loans granted. In addition, Tucker obtained and maintained data regarding overdue payday loans that eData had acquired from a number of different payday lending clients. Tucker used these files to create forged debt portfolios.

Pleading guilty today, Tucker admitted that he engaged in a fraudulent debt scheme from 2014 to 2016. This scheme involved the marketing, distribution and sale of fake debt portfolios. Tucker defrauded third-party debt collectors and millions of people listed as debtors by selling fake debt portfolios. Tucker sold supposed debts: 1) that he did not personally own; 2) were not genuine debts; 3) had already been sold to other buyers; and 4) contained bogus lenders, bogus loan dates, bogus loan amounts, and bogus payment status. Tucker received up to $ 7.3 million from the sale of fake debt portfolios.

As part of his fraud scheme, Tucker transferred the proceeds of the fraud scheme across state lines.

Tucker also admitted that he executed a related bankruptcy fraud scheme in 2015. In his bankruptcy fraud scheme, Tucker also sold fraudulent debts, which went to US bankruptcy courts all over the world. country. When the bankruptcy court in the United States investigated these alleged debts which were presented as claims in bankruptcy cases, Tucker provided false information and testimony to the bankruptcy court in order to cover up his scheme.

For the 2014 to 2016 tax years, neither Tucker personally nor any of his corporations filed federal income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. Tucker told IRS agents he had no income and lived on borrowed money, including a lot of money borrowed from his mother. In fact, Tucker used nominee bank accounts to conceal income and assets and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on personal living expenses such as vehicles, charter jets, travel and entertainment, and a personal residence. Tucker also submitted a form to the IRS in which he failed to list as an asset his Vail Mountain Club membership, for which he received $ 275,000 in 2016.

Under today’s plea agreement, Tucker must pay $ 8,057,079.95 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. Tucker is also to confiscate $ 5,000 from the government, which is the amount of stolen goods transferred across state lines, as stated in the specific count to which he pleaded guilty.

Under federal law, Tucker is liable to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum legal sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for your information, as the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court based on the Sentencing Advisory Guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of an investigation into the submission by the United States Probation Office.

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