A federal judge issued an arrest warrant for convicted swindler Joel Tucker of Prairie Village, after Tucker did not show up for his scheduled sentencing hearing Thursday.
The hearing had been scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning at the federal courthouse for the Western District of Missouri in downtown Kansas City, Mo.
After Tucker did not appear, Judge Roseann Ketchmark issued the warrant for Tucker’s arrest.
The Kansas City Star reports that Tucker’s lawyers said he was in Colorado attending to a critical family situation.
Ketchmark replied that Tucker had fair notice of the hearing, which had already been rescheduled once before. Ketchmark scheduled a new sentencing hearing for Tuesday, July 13, at 11:30 a.m.
Tucker, the brother of convicted payday-loan racketeer Scott Tucker, pleaded guilty last summer to charges of fraud and tax evasion.
The charges he pleaded guilty to carry a possible sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole. He was ordered to pay back more than $8 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
As part of his plea, Tucker acknowledged that he had engaged in marketing and selling false debt portfolios. As part of the scheme, Tucker successfully collected payments for supposed debt from people who didn’t actually owe any money.
“This well-dressed thief victimized millions of Americans whose personal information was fraudulently sold to debt collectors,” Timothy Garrison, the then-U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, said after Tucker’s plea last summer.
“Some of those victims, in their fear and confusion, actually paid debts they didn’t owe,” Garrison said. “And by hiding his income and assets then lying about it to federal agents, he victimized every honest citizen who obeys the law and pays their income taxes. His thievery allowed him to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle for a short time, but he won’t be entitled to such luxuries in federal prison.”
Tucker’s brother Scott is currently serving a 16-year sentence in federal prison for running a fraudulent multi-billion dollar payday loan operation out of Overland Park that investigators say took advantage of more than 2 million customers.