KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Professional racecar driver Scott Tucker has been charged in a payday lending operation offering quick cash over the Internet to desperate people.
Authorities said Tucker was arrested Wednesday in Kansas City, Kan., on charges in an indictment unsealed in federal court in New York City.
The indictment says Tucker and a lawyer also arrested Wednesday exploited over 4.5 million people in the U.S. who were struggling to pay basic living expenses in what is said to be a “massive scheme,” according to news reports and court officials. It says the operation charged interest rates as high as 700 percent or more using deceptive and misleading communications and contracts.
Tucker's lawyer allegedly created a corporate structure that made it appear as though some of Tucker's companies were owned by Native American tribes so they would not be subjected to certain federal laws.
In 2012, FOX 4 Problem Solvers spoke to an employee of Tucker's company who worked out of their Overland Park location. She said she was asked to lie if asked where she was located. She was told to say she was in Nebraska, where one of the tribes was located.
"They gave us a fake address and everything. We were supposed to be out of... I couldn't even pronounce the name so it's a good thing nobody ever asked me," the employee said.
In 2012, the Federal Trade Commission sued Tucker in Nevada over the payday lending operation. The agency has said in court papers that Tucker pocketed at least $420 million unlawfully.
Tucker was released Wednesday on a $2 million bond.