Prairie Village businessman pleads guilty to payday loan scheme, tax evasion

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A metro businessman pleaded guilty Thursday for his role in two fraud schemes involving false payday loan debt and tax evasion totaling more than $8 million, federal prosecutors said.

Joel Jerome Tucker, 51, of Prairie Village, pleaded guilty to one count each of transporting stolen money across state lines, bankruptcy fraud and tax evasion, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office for the western district of Missouri.

“This well-dressed thief victimized millions of Americans whose personal information was fraudulently sold to debt collectors,” U.S. Attorney Timothy Garrison said.

“Some of those victims, in their fear and confusion, actually paid debts they didn’t owe. And by hiding his income and assets then lying about it to federal agents, he victimized every honest citizen who obeys the law and pays their income taxes.”

Under his plea agreement, Tucker must pay more than $8 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and forfeit an additional $5,000 to the government.

He faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

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