Former American Le Mans Series champion Scott Tucker was convicted Friday of racketeering charges related to the payday lending business which funded his highly successful Level 5 Motorsports racing team, reports Bloomberg. Predatory loans made by Tucker’s company had interest rates that sometimes exceeded 700 percent.
Tucker’s lawyer Timothy Muir was also convicted Friday of a number of charges, including “the collection of unlawful debts, using misleading contracts and falsely stating that the businesses were owned and operated by Native American tribes,” Bloomberg writes.
Acting United States Attorney Joon Kim explained in a statement to Bloomberg that no, Tucker and Muir couldn’t just pretend their illegal payday lending business was a Native American enterprise when they were the ones ultimately profiting from it:
Tucker and Muir sought to get away with their crimes by claiming that this $2 billion business was actually owned and operated by Native American tribes. But that was a lie. The jury saw through Tucker and Muir’s lies and saw their business for what it was — an illegal and predatory scheme to take callous advantage of vulnerable workers living from paycheck to paycheck.
It took less than a day for the twelve-person jury to convict Tucker and Muir of all 14 criminal counts against them. Both face as long as 20 years in prison, with the United States hoping to seize at least $2 billion of Tucker’s assets as well. Feds argued that a Learjet, six Ferraris, four Porsches and a property in Aspen were all also bought with the proceeds of Tucker’s illegal loans.
Level 5 Motorsports was always extremely well funded thanks to Tucker’s ill-gotten cash, going all the way back to Tucker’s earlier days racing in the Sports Car Club of America. He threw so much money at an SCCA-spec D Sports Racer that it was faster around Road America than a professionally-run LMP2 car.
The remaining items from the Level 5 Motorsports shop were auctioned off earlier this year to pay off a $1.266 billion fine the Federal Trade Commission demanded from Tucker and his business partners over the payday loan scam. However, if you’re in the market for a used Learjet, maybe you should watch this space.
Tucker’s lawyer Lee Ginsberg told Bloomberg that Tucker intends to appeal the conviction, while Muir’s lawyer had no comment. Tucker and Muir will remain in home confinement until they are sentenced in early 2018.