A one-time payday-loan mogul was indicted on federal charges that he made up millions of fake debts and sold them to bill collectors, victimizing people across the country.

Joel Tucker, 49, was able to pull off the scheme because he already had his victims’ personal information from loan applications, according to an indictment unsealed June 29 in Kansas City, Missouri. But many of those people never took loans, let alone failed to pay them back, and Tucker didn’t own the loans anyway, prosecutors said. From 2014 to 2016, he earned $7.3 million from packaging and selling the information to collectors, they said.

“Tucker defrauded third-party debt collectors and millions of individuals listed as debtors through the sale of falsified debt portfolios,” according to the indictment. “These portfolios were false in that Tucker did not have chain of title to the debt, the loans were not necessarily true debts, and the dates, amounts and lenders were inaccurate and in some case fictional.”

Tucker was charged with interstate transportation of stolen money, bankruptcy fraud and falsifying bankruptcy records, counts that carry sentences of as much as 20 years each. The indictment, dated June 5, was unsealed Friday after Tucker was arrested in Kansas.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for July 10.

Tucker’s brother Scott was sentenced in January to 16 years in prison in connection with an unrelated payday-loan scheme. He made so much money in the business that he funded his own professional Ferrari racing team.

He was convicted of systematically evading state laws by charging as much as 1,000 percent a year in interest. In some cases, Joel Tucker pretended that the debt he sold had been originated by Scott’s companies, according to the new charges.

Bloomberg Businessweek chronicled in December the story of one of the victims of Joel Tucker’s scheme, Andrew Therrien, a salesman from Rhode Island.

After a collector threatened Therrien’s wife, he turned vigilante, used the collectors’ tactics against them, unraveled the scam, traced it back to Tucker and reported what he learned to authorities.

Tucker had already been sued by the Federal Trade Commission for making up debts and was ordered in September to pay $4.2 million. He has said that any debt he sold was legitimate.

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