Scott Tucker, former LeMans champion was sentenced to 16 years and 8 months for illegal payday lending practices. The four-time American Le Mans Series heard the sentence on Friday, January 5, 2018.
After a five-week jury trial, Tucker was convicted of 14 criminal counts related to lending and racketeering violations. Immediately after Judge Kevin Castel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York handed down the ruling, Tucker was taken into custody. According to a report, the judge cited concerns about Tucker's mental health and the possibility of self-harm.
His attorney Timothy Muir was convicted with him last October on charges of racketeering that included the use of misleading contracts, collection of unlawful debt, and falsely stating that the business belonged and was operated by Native Americans.
This lending enterprise of over $2 billion helped Tucker fund his lavish lifestyle that included his Level 5 Motorsports team that competed in both the ALMS and Grand-Am. The team ceased operations in 2014 after winning in GT Daytona.
Tucker offered loans online (he was actually one of the first ones). He would offer high interest to desperate consumers who had a poor credit and could not get a loan elsewhere. The interest rates offered in Tucker's websites were between 400 and 700%, which are far more than lending laws would allow.
Tucker argued that his operations were based on tribal law where governing lending laws do not apply. When asking for leniency in his sentence, he claimed to have hired about 10,000 people.
The feds conclude that Tucker's operations were made to the detriment of poor American people. The tribes involved in the scheme, only received 1% of the revenue, according to Bloomberg.
Tucker and his lawyer, Lee Ginsburg will appeal the decision. Thomas Bath, Muir's lawyer plans to do the same.