The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that a record refund of $505 million will be awarded through 1,179,803 refund checks. Checks are being mailed to victims in the payday lending scheme operated by AMG Services, Inc. and Scott A. Tucker. The announcement comes after the record-setting $1.3 billion civil court judgment that found Tucker and his companies guilty of violating the FTC Act and the Truth in Lending Act.
The FTC filed their first complained back in 2012 alleging that operators at AMG Services would apply finance fees to unauthorized withdraws causing consumers to pay back more than the agreed amount. It was also discovered that Tucker used indigenous tribes as fronts to avoid obeying state interest laws. One example on the FTC website shows how one consumer took a $300 loan expecting to pay back $390 but ended up paying $975 for the $300 loan. Prosecutors claimed that consumers often paid interest rates over 700%. The FTC and DOJ studied loan portfolios from brands under AMG Services - 500FastCash, Advantage Cash Services, Ameriloan, OneClickCash, Star Cash Processing, UnitedCashLoans and USFastCash - to uncover the victims who took a short-term loan from one of these companies.
The average refund check is good for about $421 and are being delivered to those victimized between 2008 to 2013. Tucker, 56, was convicted of 14 federal charges and started serving his 16-year prison sentence earlier this year. The record-setting $505 million was recovered by the FTC and DOJ after Tucker’s conviction and a $528 million penalty was given to US Bancorp, a bank used by Tucker, after failing to report suspicious activity and signs of money laundering on Tucker’s bank account. Authorities suspect that over 4 million consumers have been victimized over the past 20 years, and the Kansas City Star reported that the Leawood man conducted most of his illegal business in Overland Park.
Shopping for a Payday Loan?
- Take time to understand Payday Loans
- Avoid or be very careful when shopping online
- Gather as much information about the caller and company as possible
- Check out The Better Business Bureau website before giving out your information
- Get your loan in writing
- If you think you’re a victim of a payday loan scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
Consumers are urged to cash their checks within 60 days. If you think you may be a victim, or if you think you borrowed from one of the seven lenders before January 2008, then call 1-866-730-8147. The FTC also has a page on their websites for the AMG Services Refunds (https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/cases-proceedings/refunds/amg-services-refunds).
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FTC Payday Loans - https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0097-payday-loans
FTC Online Payday Loans- https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0249-online-payday-loans
FTC Payday Lending Video - https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/media/video-0078-payday-lending