Joel Tucker fails to show up for sentencing in Kansas City


Joel tucker

Joel tucker

A Prairie Village man who was due to be convicted on Thursday of a debt selling and tax evasion scam failed to show up and a federal judge issued an arrest warrant for him.

Joel Tucker, whom a senior Kansas City attorney once called a “well-dressed thief,” pleaded guilty last year to charges of carrying stolen money, bankruptcy fraud and bankruptcy. tax evasion.

Tucker’s attorneys have said he is in Colorado with a critical family situation.

Judge Roseann Ketchmark said it was admirable that Tucker cared about his family, but said the sentencing date has been set and Tucker has been given reasonable notice. She issued an arrest warrant against him.

She set a new sentencing date at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Once convicted, Joel Tucker will likely join his brother, convicted payday loan racketeer and former professional race car driver Scott Tucker, in the federal prison system.

Scott Tucker is serving a 16 year and eight month sentence for carrying out a massive illegal payday loan operation in Overland Park that federal officials say has exploited more than 2 million borrowers.

In Joel Tucker’s case, most of the accusations stem from his scheme of selling false consumer information to debt collectors, forcing these agents to try and get consumers to pay debts they didn’t actually owe. . In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission secured a $ 4 million judgment against Tucker for the same scam.

Collectors buy unpaid consumer debt from companies, often for pennies on the dollar, and take their own chances to get consumers to pay. Some collectors buy back the debts of people who have filed for bankruptcy.

Debt portfolios are basically spreadsheets containing row after row of consumer data – names, addresses, phone numbers and the amount they owe – that is often bought and sold among debt collectors. Some debt buyers take care to verify the authenticity of the portfolios they acquire. Others are not.

Tucker’s portfolios listed debts that consumers did not owe or that were fully accrued. At times he sold wallets purported to come from payday lenders, some of which included brands owned by his brother’s companies.

In 2016, a Texas judge noticed a number of consumer bankruptcy cases that included claims valued at $ 390 from a company called Castle Peak that could not be verified. The judge opened an investigation and discovered they were from Tucker.

Tucker was called to testify in court about the debts in 2016. When Tucker was ordered to provide the judge’s documentation to support the validity of the debts he sold, Tucker created a fake spreadsheet that he sold. ‘it turned into a tribunal.

Tucker also owes nearly $ 12 million in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties. As of May, only $ 512 had been paid for this debt, according to court records. Meanwhile, Tucker has spent a lot on himself, such as buying a Cadillac Escalade for $ 105,367, spending some $ 226,000 on private jets and $ 50,000 at a private club in the resort town of Vail, in. Colorado.

All the while, Tucker told an Internal Revenue Service agent that he had no income to pay his tax debt.

Tucker also got a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program, a small business administration program that offered cash to businesses who feared the coronavirus pandemic would affect their businesses. The PPP loan application asked applicants if they were being indicted when they applied for the loan. Tucker replied that he was not, which was wrong. He received a loan of almost $ 21,000.

While Tucker is likely headed to jail for tax evasion and bogus debt sales, he is deeply linked to the Kansas City payday loan scandal that trapped several local men in legal trouble for running businesses that authorities have entered into. as being of exploitation.

Tucker was a major owner of eData Solutions, which gathered consumer data and sold it to several payday lenders as leads to potential borrowers. eData, which was previously known as Bahama Marketing Group, has also sold software to payday lenders.

Tucker and others sold eData Solutions to the Wyandotte Nation tribe in Oklahoma for $ 277 million in 2012.

This story was originally published July 8, 2021 10:35 a.m.

Steve Vockrodt is an award-winning investigative journalist who has worked in Kansas City since 2005. His areas of interest include business, politics, justice issues, and late-breaking investigations. Vockrodt grew up in Denver and studied journalism at the University of Kansas.

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