Pro racecar driver Scott Tucker, others ordered to pay $1.2B

Markets Associated Press

Professional racecar driver Scott Tucker and others deceived payday loan consumers and owe the Federal Trade Commission about $1.2 billion, according to a ruling from a federal judge in Nevada.

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U.S. District Court of Nevada Judge Gloria Navarro issued a judgment Friday that found consumers of Scott Tucker's payday loan businesses were harmed because of misleading loan terms. The commission said those terms caused recipients of a $300 loan to be required to pay $975.

Navarro said Tucker "did not participate in an isolated, discrete incident of deceptive lending, but engaged in sustained and continuous conduct that perpetuated the deceptive lending since at least 2008." The order also bars Tucker from any future involvement in the consumer lending business.

Tucker, of Leawood, Kansas, and his brother Blaine Tucker, started a short-term lending business in 1998 called National Money Service, according to court records. The business grew into several different business entities. In 2012, the FTC brought charges against the Tucker brothers and several business entities, saying the payday loan operations charged usurious interest rates, The Kansas City Star reported ( ).

Blaine Tucker committed suicide in 2014.

Tucker also faces criminal charges in New York, where he's accused of running $2 billion payday loan enterprise that exploited 4.5 million consumers. Various states, including New York state and the District of Columbia, ban payday loans or have usury limits that effectively prohibit them, court papers said.

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He denied wrongdoing in the FTC case and has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges against him. That trial is scheduled for April 2017.

Jeff Morris and Nick Kurt, attorneys for Tucker, didn't immediately return phone messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Navarro's order affects Tucker, his brother's estate and other corporate entities under their control.

Tucker argued in court filings that his companies extended loans on terms that reflect the industry standard for short-term credit. He said he didn't know his businesses violated federal law and did not intend to deceive consumers.