May 14, 2021


equality opinion

Attorney needs prison tax case divided from Scott Tucker

Lawyers for a Shawnee male who was indicted in 2017 in a criminal tax fraud scenario say he just can’t get a good shake if he has to go to trial alongside with his co-defendant Scott Tucker, a notorious and previously convicted payday bank loan tycoon.

W. Brett Chapin, who procedures tax and accounting legislation, filed a motion in U.S. District Court docket of Kansas this thirty day period inquiring for a independent trial. A federal grand jury in 2017 indicted Chapin and Tucker for failing to report millions truly worth of Tucker’s revenue taxes from 2008 to 2011.

Tucker, a former professional race car driver from Leawood, was convicted in 2017 by a federal jury in New York in a different legal case for functioning a $2 billion payday bank loan business that prosecutors stated bilked 4.5 million debtors with deceptive and unlawful short term consumer financial loans. A decide ordered Tucker to provide a jail sentence of more than 16 several years.

Chapin was accused of making ready Tucker’s allegedly bogus tax returns. He has pleaded not responsible.

Chapin’s motion explained the common general public scrutiny of Tucker, specifically awareness brought on himself by his participation in a Netflix documentary identified as “Dirty Money” that chronicled Tucker’s misdeeds, would make it tricky for a jury to assess Chapin’s guilt or innocence independently if the two are tried alongside one another on the tax fraud expenses. Chapin’s legal professionals reported their client has completed almost nothing to convey general public awareness to himself.

“The smoke and fire produced from the proof of Tucker’s wrongdoing will rage on to an unjust conviction of Mr. Chapin simply just since the jury could not see him evidently,” reads the motion by Chapin’s legal professionals, Lance Sandage and Sarah Hess. “Even just sitting at the defense desk with Tucker unnecessarily raises the threat of clouding the jury’s judgment.”

Chapin’s lawyers point out that Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, in the course of a hearing in January on Tucker’s appeal of a $1.3 billion judgment in opposition to him in a civil scenario introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, appeared to have fashioned an unfavorable opinion about Tucker.

“I suggest, he’s been convicted,” Barrett explained to a law firm symbolizing Tucker and his payday lending corporations throughout an oral argument on Jan. 13. “He has the doubtful distinction of staying the subject of an episode of ‘Dirty Money’ on Netflix.”

Chapin’s legal professionals utilised Barrett’s observation to illustrate its broader place about a jury analyzing Tucker and Chapin alongside one another.

“Put just, if even a Justice of the United States Supreme Court docket is biased versus Mr. Tucker because of to his conviction…and brazenly phone calls him a ‘dubious’ defendant with unclean palms who has ‘violated the regulation,’ how can one particular assume any member of the jury to keep on being unbiased versus Tucker?” the motion suggests. “And if we can not assume a juror to continue being impartial against Tucker, isn’t this the perfect circumstance review of spillover prejudicing a codefendant, Mr. Chapin.”

Barrett and the Supreme Courtroom listened to arguments from Tucker’s attorneys, as effectively as individuals for the Federal Trade Commission, in an attractiveness of the $1.3 billion judgment that the shopper watchdog company acquired versus Tucker and his payday financial loan organization in 2016. It was the most significant litigated penalty obtained by the FTC.

In pleasing Tucker’s penalty, his legal professionals argue that whilst the FTC can request injunctions and restraining orders to stop companies from ripping off people, it just cannot look for restitution — the return of sick-gotten gains — via litigation on behalf of victims.

A decrease appellate courtroom listening to Tucker’s appeal upheld the decision to demand restitution from Tucker. But a further appeals court docket circuit in an unrelated circumstance took the reverse placement, that the FTC simply cannot seek out restitution.

Whilst the FTC sought $1.3 billion from Tucker and his organizations, it is crystal clear the company will recover perfectly quick of that amount of money.

For the duration of January’s listening to prior to the Supreme Court docket, a lawyer for the FTC claimed considerably of the money Tucker and his companies got from debtors as a result of misleading financial loans is expended and gone.

“We’re not likely to get the 1.3 billion bucks,” Joel Marcus, counsel for the FTC, instructed the Supreme Court docket. “A whole lot of it was invested and doesn’t exist anymore and, you know, Tucker is now judgment-proof for the most section. But there were lender accounts, properties, race cars and trucks, no matter what, property that were seized and are remaining held generally in trust eternally.”

Related tales from Kansas Town Star

Steve Vockrodt is an award-successful investigative journalist who has described in Kansas Metropolis given that 2005. Locations of reporting fascination include things like organization, politics, justice challenges and breaking information investigations. Vockrodt grew up in Denver and studied journalism at the University of Kansas.