Miami Nation agrees to forfeit $48M from online lending business

A page from the indictment in U.S. v. Scott Tucker and Timothy Muir describes the "sham" in which three tribes, including the Miami Nation, claimed to be be owners of lending businesses.

Federal authorities arrested two men accused of running a $2 billion illegal lending operation but the Miami Nation of Oklahoma won't face prosecution as part of an agreement in which it admitted wrongdoing.

The tribe will forfeit $48 million in "criminal proceeds" from the operation, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced on Wednesday. The tribe admitted it acted as a front for Scott Tucker and Timothy Muir, the two men charged with violating federal lending and anti-corruption laws.

"As alleged, Scott Tucker and Timothy Muir targeted and exploited millions of struggling, everyday people by charging illegally high interest rates – as much as 700 percent," Bharara said. "Tucker and Muir allegedly sought to evade liability by claiming that this $2 billion business was actually owned and operated by Native American tribes."

The Miami Nation isn't the only tribe connected to Tucker and Muir but neither the Miamis nor the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma and the Santee Sioux Nation of Nebraska are identified in the indictment. All three are instead described as "Tribes 1-3."

"Tribes 1-3 had no power to make any decisions on behalf of any of the Tucker Payday Lenders, no control over the income or expenses of any of the Tucker Payday Lenders, and no entitlement to the Tucker Payday Lenders' profits," the indictment reads.

The Miami Nation withdrew from the lending operation in 2013, the tribe said in a statement to The Oklahoman. Last year, two tribal entities agreed to a $21 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly violating consumer protection laws.

Get the Story:
Oklahoma tribe agrees to pay $48 million to avoid prosecution in payday lending scheme (The Oklahoman 2/10)
KC payday lenders Scott Tucker and Richard Moseley Sr. indicted in federal crackdown (The Kansas City Star 2/10)
Feds arrest two KC-area men in $2B payday lending enterprise (The Kansas City Business Journal 2/10)
Feds Arrest Heads Of Two Massive Online Payday Loan Operations (Consumerist 2/10)
Pro Racecar Driver Scott Tucker Charged in Payday Loan Scam (AP 2/10)
U.S. Payday Lending Crackdown Brings Race Car Driver's Arrest (Reuters 2/10)

Also Today:
Payday lenders lose their tribal-law loophole (Bloomberg View 2/8)

Related Stories
Internet lenders linked to Miami Nation agree to $21M settlement (1/19)
Judge issues amended ruling in tribal payday loan lawsuit (2/28)
Colorado authorities go after non-Indian in payday loan case (2/15)
Colorado judge backs immunity for tribes' payday loan firms (2/14)

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