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"It's the worst deal Native Americans have made since they sold the island of Manhattan for a bag of beads," says Jeffrey Wilens, a California lawyer who has brought a class-action suit against a group of payday-loan companies, including the Tucker-affiliated AMG Services. "Tucker is taking advantage of these tribes and skimming all the profits for himself to support his racing career and his lavish lifestyle." (In addition to his Leawood residence, Tucker owns an $8 million vacation home in Aspen and a private jet.)
In 2012, the Federal Trade Commission filed suit against Tucker and AMG Services, alleging that the company threatened consumers over the phone while trying to collect debts. The two parties reached a partial settlement this past July.
"The agreement bars the settling defendants from using threats of arrest and lawsuits as a tactic for collecting debts, and from requiring all borrowers to agree in advance to electronic withdrawals from their bank accounts as a condition of obtaining credit," according to an FTC release. "The FTC continues to litigate other charges against the AMG defendants, including allegations that they deceived consumers about the cost of their loans by charging undisclosed charges and inflated fees."
Meanwhile, Tucker continues to fly around the world racing cars, enjoying low-level fame competing in a sport he bought himself into. A spread in KC magazine last year featured two photos of Tucker, one of him in full gear behind the wheel of a race car, and another of him modeling a stylish cocktail-hour outfit. "Scott Tucker — Kansas City Celebrity and Auto Racing Genius," the headline reads.
Scott is not the only Tucker to get the rich-person treatment by KC magazine. HomeDesign, a specialty imprint of KC, featured an interior-design spread of the mansion of his younger brother, Joel, in its September 2009 issue. At the time, Joel and his wife, Stacy, lived in Mission Hills and were St. Ann members. (They divorced in 2010.) Joel Tucker has since moved to Boulder, Colorado, according to the address listed on his 2012 political contributions. Last year, at an auction benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, Joel Tucker went home with the highest-selling item: a weekend getaway featuring a private jet to a pied-à-terre in Manhattan's Art District, for $35,000.
Joel Tucker's money comes from a payday-related company he started in 2002 that at the time was called Bahamas Marketing Group. In January 2008, he changed the name to BMG Solutions. Then he changed it again in September 2008, to eData Solutions. Presumably, these tweaks were precipitated by Bahamas and BMG acquiring a reputation, on message boards and online forums, for harassing borrowers. This post, from a debt-consolidation forum in 2009, is consistent with other cries for help that you can find by simply searching "Bahamas Marketing" online:
"These people are contacting me about a payment I have already made back in 2007, they are threatening to have me arrested and have an investigator sent to my place of work. Now they are asking me for a new payment of $710.00 for withdrawing this action. Should I pay? What should I do? I have proof of this payment... I'm scared... PLEASE HELP!"
In an executive summary from early 2011 obtained by The Pitch, eData Solutions calls itself a "technology-based market facilitator for online consumer finance." The document reveals that eData Solutions does just about everything related to online lending except actually lending money.
Say you need a quick loan. You type "fast loan online kansas city" into Google and click on one of the sites that pops up. There's a good chance that the site is not an actual lender but instead is a middleman of sorts that processes your information, evaluates your credit in a matter of seconds, and creates a profile for you. This software — eData Solutions' version is called iLead — then auctions off your profile to companies that do the lending.