Prairie Village Man Sentenced to 12 Years for 7.3 Million Dollar Payday Loan Fraud, $8 Million Tax Evasion

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A man was sentenced by a federal court for his involvement in two fraud schemes that involved thousands of dollars of false payday loans and tax evasion that totaled more than $8 million.

“After raking in millions of dollars from the victims of his fraud scheme, the defendant lied repeatedly and used every trick in the book to hide his ill-gotten gain from the IRS,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Teresa A. Moore. 

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“He was lavishly lavish with luxurious cars, and jet travel yet hasn’t ever paid a cent in taxes that he owes for more than 10 years. To make matters worse and even obtaining fraudulently a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the federal government, after having spent long enough to deceive U.S. taxpayers.”

Joel Jerome Tucker, 52, is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark to 12 years and 6 months in federal jail with no parole. The judge additionally ordered Tucker to pay an amount of $8,057,079 as compensation to the Internal Revenue Service and forfeit to the federal government $5,000. This is the sum of stolen proceeds transferred across state lines as outlined in the specific case that which he was convicted.

FBI acting Special Agent-in-Charge Michael E. Hensle stated, “Tucker defrauded hundreds of thousands of innocent victims as well as authorities of the U.S. government for his personal financial gain. While many people are striving to make a decent living and pursue the American ideal, Tucker chose to live an extravagant lifestyle at the expense of hard-working Americans. It is the FBI is determined to hunt and bring to justice people who profit from people for their own gain and believe that they can get away with it.”

“Tucker utilized the profits of his criminal activities to live an extravagant lifestyle and betray the American citizens. His sentence shows that the courts take tax fraud and other related scams seriously,” declared Amanda Prestegard acting Director of the Special Agents in charge at the IRS-Criminal Investigation’s St. Louis Field Office. “IRS-CI aggressively investigates and uncovers complex financial crimes to disrupt criminal activity impacting the U.S. tax system.”

Tucker worked through several firms that provided services to payday loan companies. Tucker’s names for his company changed over time, but the core firm is eData Solutions, LLC. eData was officially registered on July 29, 2009, and could not offer direct loans to the borrowers. It collected information on loan applications known as leads and then sold the leads to around 70 payday lenders. As a loan servicer, eData also provided software to payday lenders.

Tucker, along with the remaining owners of eData, transferred the company to the Wyandotte Indian tribe in 2012. But, despite selling his stake in eData, Tucker maintained a database that contained 7.8 million leads that he obtained through eData, which contained detailed information about the customers (including names, addresses, addresses, bank accounts, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, etc.). eData has gathered the complete customer data through online payday loan applications or inquiries made to its payday lenders’ clients. The data did not contain the loans made. Additionally, Tucker obtained and retained information on the defaulted payday loans eData had acquired from various payday lenders. Tucker employed these files to build fake portfolios of debt.

On July 16, 20th, 2020, Tucker pleaded guilty to one charge of transporting stolen funds across states as part of the fraud scheme that entailed debt and one charge of fraud in bankruptcy as well as one charge of tax fraud. In addition, the government alleged in court documents that Tucker participated in another fraudulent scheme that was not convicted in the investigation, where he fraudulently received money through Payroll Protection Program. Payroll Protection Program.

Debt Fraud Scheme

Tucker admitted that he was involved in a scam to obtain debt from 2014 until 2016. The scheme involved marketing distribution, selling, and marketing fake debt portfolios. Tucker scammed third-party debt collectors and millions of people who were listed as debtors via the sale of counterfeit portfolios of debt. Tucker sold fake debts that included: 1.) they weren’t his personal possession, two) weren’t real debts and 3) were sold to buyers elsewhere, and four) contained fake lenders, false dates for loans and fake loan amounts, and false payments status. 

A few members of these “debtors” had only applied for a loan but had never got one or because they retracted their request or because the loan wasn’t paid. A few of the debtors listed were actually paying the debt collectors due to uncertainty or fear of the amount they were owed. Tucker collected the equivalent of $7.3 million from the sale of fake debt portfolios in only two years, beginning in 2014 through early.

In his fraudulent strategy, Tucker transferred the proceeds of the fraud scheme across states.

Bankruptcy Fraud Scheme

Tucker also acknowledged that he was involved in a bankruptcy fraud scheme between 2015 and 2016. In the fraudulent bankruptcy scheme, Tucker additionally sold fraud debt that was then remitted into the United States Bankruptcy Courts nationwide. In the course of when the United States Bankruptcy Court investigated the fraudulent debts, which were filed as claims in bankruptcy proceedings, Tucker repeatedly lied under oath to provide false information and testified before investigators of the Bankruptcy Court to hide his plan.

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