The Federal Trade Commission, through its refund administrator, is mailing 690,000 checks totaling more than $152 million to consumers who lost money to a massive payday lending fraud scheme operated by AMG Services, Inc. and the company’s owner, Scott Tucker. This is the second distribution of refunds in this matter, bringing the total amount returned to consumers to more than $535 million.
The refunds are the result of a criminal case that the Department of Justice filed and from settlements with other defendants that were entered before the Supreme Court overturned the monetary judgment the FTC had obtained in its civil case against Tucker in April 2021.
Consumers who receive checks should cash them by August 17, 2022. Checks can be verified online at www.ftc.gov/AMG. Recipients who have questions about their refund should contact the refund administrator, Rust Consulting, at 866-730-8147 or by email at admin@AMGServicesRefund.com. The Commission never requires people to pay money or provide account information to get a refund.
The FTC sued AMG Services in 2012, alleging that the company and its operators falsely claimed they would charge borrowers the loan amount plus a one-time finance fee. Instead, the defendants made multiple withdrawals from consumers’ bank accounts and assessed a new finance fee with each withdrawal. As a result, consumers paid far more for the loans than they had originally agreed to pay.
In 2017, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York obtained criminal convictions against Tucker and his attorney, Timothy Muir. In 2018, they obtained a sentence of more than 16 years in prison for Tucker, and a penalty of $528 million against U.S. Bancorp for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, including failing to timely report suspicious banking activities of Tucker.
In vacating the Commission’s judgment against Tucker, the Supreme Court ruled that the Commission lacks authority under Section 13(b) to seek monetary relief in federal court. The Commission has urged Congress to restore the Commission’s ability to get money back for consumers under Section 13(b).
The Commission’s interactive dashboards for refund data provide a state-by-state breakdown of refunds in FTC cases. In 2020, Commission actions led to more than $483 million in refunds to consumers across the country.