The Kansas City Star has the details:
A Prairie Village man who was due to be convicted Thursday of a fake debt sale and tax evasion failed to show up and a federal judge issued a warrant.
Joel Tucker, once described by a Kansas City chief prosecutor as a “well-dressed thief.” pleaded guilty last year to the transportation of stolen money, bankruptcy fraud and tax evasion.
How did it go for Tucker?
Tucker also owes nearly $ 12 million in unpaid taxes, interest, and penalties. As of May, only $ 512 had been paid on that debt, according to court records. Meanwhile, Tucker was spending a lot on himself, including buying a Cadillac Escalade for $ 105,367, around $ 226,000 on private jets, and $ 50,000 at a private club in the mountain town of Vail, Colorado. […]
Tucker also received a loan for the Paycheck Protection Program, a small business administration program that offered cash to companies that feared the coronavirus pandemic would affect their businesses. When applying for a PPP loan, the applicant was asked if he was under indictment at the time of the loan application. Tucker replied that it wasn’t him, which was wrong. He received a loan of nearly $ 21,000.
So what did Joel Tucker do and how harmful were his actions? The Seattle Times tells Bloomberg in its assessment:
A one-time payday loan mogul was charged with federal charges of incurring millions of counterfeit debts and selling them to debt collectors, thereby harassing people across the country.
Joel Tucker, 49, got through the program because he already had his victims’ personal information from loan applications, according to an indictment unsealed on June 29 in Kansas City, Missouri. But many of these people never took out loans, let alone failed to repay them, and Tucker didn’t own the loans anyway, prosecutors said. From 2014 to 2016, he made $ 7.3 million packaging and selling the information to collectors, they said.
“Tucker has defrauded third party debtors and millions of people listed as debtors by selling fake debt portfolios,” the indictment reads. “These portfolios were flawed in that Tucker did not have a chain of ownership in the debt, the loans were not necessarily real debt, and the dates, amounts, and lenders were inaccurate and in some cases fictitious.”
How bad was it for the scammers? Bloomberg Business tells a creepy story:
The morning a debt collector threatened to rape his wife, Andrew Therrien was working from home in a green-shuttered house on a cul-de-sac in a small Rhode Island town. Therrien was tall and stocky, had a buzz cut and a square, friendly face, and was a salesman for an advertising agency. He had always had a good relationship with people on the phone, and on that day, February 2015, he called grocery vendors to talk about freebies in grocery stores.
Wait what Threatening to rape his WIFE?
His search for the original source was rarely straightforward. For a while, Therrien focused on Buffalo, one of the poorest cities in the United States and a hub for the debt collection industry – home to agencies that process the oldest and cheapest paper. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, debt collectors are more common there than bartenders or construction workers. As Therrien exhausted as many Buffalo collectors as possible, one name kept popping up: Joel Tucker, a former payday loan mogul from Kansas City, Missouri. In the summer of 2015 Therrien was convinced that she had found his husband.
Joel Tucker had continued to buy up debt and then sold it to debt collection agencies to harass the victims. These victims faced credit damage and some, when driven into bankruptcy, listed the fake debts on their records. This false debt – that’s where Joel and his brother Scott were found along with effective detectives like Therrien.
According to the regulator, Joel Tucker’s credit lists included social security and bank account numbers that debt collection companies then used to convince consumers that the debt was real.
If you are concerned, relax. That case, one of the last to go through President Obama’s Justice Department on January 9, 2017 – right before Trump’s inauguration – gave Joel Tucker plenty of time to, well, hang out, buy a new car, an apartment in Colorado, and take out government loans on fraudulent paperwork. Just a few million dollars here and there.
But I’m sure it’s not about privilege at all. Not a bit. If he accidentally tried to hand over a fake $ 20 the same way as all of that fake debt, who knows what might have happened.