Racecar driver Ken Tucker found guilty in payday loan scam

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NEW YORK — Professional racecar driver Scott Tucker and his former lawyer were found guilty in federal court in New York on Friday of preying on vulnerable borrowers through a $2 billion payday loan business that charged 700 percent interest or more.

Tucker, 55, and Timothy Muir, 46, were each found guilty by a jury in Manhattan federal court of 14 counts including money laundering and racketeering.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said Tucker and Muir operated a nationwide internet payday lending enterprise out of their base in Overland Park, Kansas, that systematically evaded state laws.

He said Tucker claimed falsely that the business was owned and operated by Native American tribes.

"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," Kim said in a statement.

Prosecutors said Tucker's company charged exorbitant interest on short-term loans to more than 4.5 million people.

Tucker's lawyers argued that the terms of the loans were known to customers.

Friday's verdict follows a 2016 case in Nevada in which a federal judge ruled that Tucker and others deceived payday loan consumers and owed the Federal Trade Commission about $1.2 billion.

Tucker and Muir face as long as 20 years in prison on the most serious charges in the New York case.

U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel ordered home confinement for the pair until they are sentenced.

Tucker raced sports cars in professional competitions before he was arrested last year in Kansas.