Scott Tucker’s days as a free man came to an end on Friday after the former American Le Mans Series team owner was sentenced to 16 years and eight months in prison for a variety of federal indictments related to payday loan crimes.
The Missouri-based Tucker, 55, was taken into custody after judge Kevin Castel made his ruling and provided the full sentence is served, Tucker would emerge from prison in his early 70s. Tucker’s lawyer, Timothy Muir, was sentenced to seven years for his role as an accomplice in the crimes. TILA (Truth In Lending Act) and RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) offenses proved to be Tucker’s undoing; the predatory lending practices locked many who took out loans from one of Tucker’s numerous businesses into impossible repayment scenarios due to incredible interest rates.
Tucker’s home newspaper, the Kansas City Star, has covered his run-ins with prosecutors for many years, and closed the loop on the 14 criminal counts that were levied in October that ultimately sealed his fate: “For more than 15 years, Scott Tucker and Timothy Muir made billions of dollars exploiting struggling, everyday Americans through payday loans carrying interest rates as high as 1,000 percent,” said acting deputy U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joan Loughnane in a written statement.
“And to hide their criminal scheme, they tried to claim their business was owned and operated by Native American tribes. But now Tucker and Muir’s predatory business is closed and they have been sentenced to significant time in prison for their deceptive practices.”
Tucker’s Level 5 Racing team earned multiple sports car championship and drew particular attention to itself for the lavish spending on cars, opulent transporters, and paying top dollar to surround its owner with elite open-wheel and sports car stars. The owner/driver ceased his professional racing endeavors in 2014, and with mounting civil and federal suits taking precedence, Tucker has remained silent, barring a recent visit to the Dinner with Racers podcast.
Although Castel’s ruling in a Manhattan federal court would appear to be the coup de grace for Tucker and Muir, their lawyers have vowed to appeal the decisions.