On February 10, 2016, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the IRS, and the FBI, announced the unsealing of a criminal indictment charging SCOTT TUCKER and TIMOTHY MUIR with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) and the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”) for operating a nationwide internet payday lending enterprise that systematically evaded state laws in order to charge illegal interest rates as high as 700% on loans.
The Department of Justice alleges that to thwart state actions, Defendant TUCKER devised a scheme to claim that his lending businesses were protected by sovereign immunity, a legal doctrine that, among other things, generally prevents states from enforcing their laws against Native American tribes.
The purpose of these agreements was to cause the Tribes to claim they owned and operated parts of TUCKER’s payday lending enterprise, so that when states sought to enforce laws prohibiting TUCKER’s loans, TUCKER’s lending businesses would claim to be protected by sovereign immunity. In return, the Tribes received payments from TUCKER, typically one percent of the revenues from the portion of TUCKER’s payday lending business that the Tribes purported to own. The Federal agencies involved in the investigation have identified the following internet payday lenders as being part of the TUCKER organization:
- Ameriloan, f/k/a Cash Advance;
- One Click Cash, f/k/a Preferred Cash Loans;
- United Cash Loans;
- US FastCash;
- 500 FastCash; Advantage
- Cash Services; and,
- Star Cash Processing
If you believe you were a victim of this crime, including a victim entitled to restitution, and you wish to provide information to law enforcement and/or receive notice of future developments in the case or additional information, please contact the Victim/Witness Unit at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, at (866) 874-8900. For additional information, go to: www.usdoj.gov/usao/nys/victimwitness.html
DFI strongly recommends that consumers deal only with those lenders that are properly licensed to conduct business. Consumers can determine whether lenders are properly licensed using the “Verify a License” feature on the DFI’s website at www.dfi.wa.gov.
Payday Loan Debt Collection Laws
Collection activities are subject to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Therefore, if you have questions regarding debt collection laws please contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC HELP, or online at www.ftc.gov.
Debt collectors cannot state or imply that failure to pay a debt is a crime. They cannot call before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. They cannot harass or abuse consumers, or contact consumers' places of employment.
Washington State residents, if you are suspicious of unlicensed activity by a payday lender please contact the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions at 1-877-RING-DFI (746-4334), or online at www.dfi.wa.gov.
If you live in another state, find your state regulator.
If you feel you have been the victim of a loan scam please contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) or online at www.ftc.gov; or contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (855) 411-CFPB or online at www.consumerfinance.gov. Because the scammers have access to bank account information and social security numbers, victims should consider themselves victims of identity theft and take appropriate precautions. The Federal Trade Commission has information for victims of identity theft available online at www.ftc.gov.
If you feel you have been the victim of a loan scam involving the Internet please contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center online at www.ic3.gov.
If you feel you have been the victim of a loan scam and are concerned about your personal financial information, contact your banking institution, and the three major credit bureaus.