It’s Not Personal… Just Business!

Just watched a 2020 documentary entitled Dirty Money that covered a slew of scams perpetrated on American consumers. The segment on Scott Tucker really got my goat. Here’s a bit of a background on this character and his disgusting shenanigans:

In 1991, Tucker was convicted for his illegal activities, including mail fraud, associated with a bogus lending company he operated, Chase, Morgan, Stearns & Lloyd, which he falsely claimed was associated with each of the four major banks whose names he included in the name of the company. He served one year in prison.

In 2001, Tucker founded an online business, AMG Services, that made payday loans even in states where these high-interest, low-principal loans were restricted or illegal. The business, which generated over $3.5 billion in revenue from just 2008 to June 2013,[1] ultimately made loans to at least 4.5 million Americans.[1] When state regulators tried to shut down his operations, Tucker made deals with Native American tribes to claim ownership of his business and invoke sovereign immunity from state courts.[2] In February 2016, Tucker was arrested and indicted on federal criminal charges filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in relation to his ownership and controlling role in various payday lending operations that were found to have charged illegal interest rates in violation of RICO and TILA statutes.[3][4] Tucker was convicted of making illegal payday loans and of racketeering in October 2017; he is currently serving a sentence of 16 years and 8 months in federal prison.[1]

In the documentary the director interviewed Tucker while he was awaiting trial, while still in his multimillion dollar home. When asked if he considered himself Moral Tucker paused and then answered “I’m a businessperson”. When the filmmaker interviewed that chief of the Indian tribe in Oklahoma about the deal they made with Tucker to use their name and status, he showed NO remorse and added “We didn’t do anything illegal.” This is the essence of why our current capitalist system is so skewed and downright EVIL! All of those poisoned by this so called “Free Market” seem to adhere to the famous words from the Godfather films “It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.” So, what Tucker and his minions did was nickel and dime loans (average $ 300) to over 4 million consumers who were desperate for the cash, and then charge them higher interest than even a street corner loan shark. He had a myriad of lackeys working as office staff to handle the tens of thousands of customer phone complaints from 2001 to 2013. Having been a “Phone man” myself, I have a great animus for those Judases who obviously knew what was going on in the scam. You see, most underhanded schemes like Tucker’s can never succeed without an army of collaborators. Disgraceful how some working stiffs can do such a thing to earn a living.

This writer knew people I once called friends that sold their souls to scam artist businesses. I recall a guy I worked under at ADP ( Automatic Data Processing) in the late 1980s. With all its faults at least ADP played by the rules and did not have their sales force play such games. Yet, my sales manager, as straight an arrow as can be, confessed to me how, in a previous sales life as a “Tin man” ( aluminum siding sales) he bent the rules and took advantage of low income home owners. He actually laughed when he told me how he and his coworkers would lie and outright gouge the customer with higher prices. He used the old Godfather retort of it not being personal… just business. Another old friend got himself into the subprime mortgage loan business as a salesman during the housing boom of the mid 2000s. Once again, they preyed upon low income and low credit rated customers, knowing that there was NO way the new homeowner would be able to pay off that mortgage at those rates etc. He himself got so tied into the whole boom that he began doing what I personally abhor, that being ‘ Flipping houses’. He was doing so well right before the 2008 bust that he leased himself a $600 a month BMW coupe and travelled to Russia to find himself a wife through one of those mating services. The bust came, he got evicted from his own home and saw his lovely blonde haired young wife skip out on him.

Modern day capitalism has become a joke. For every tale of well run Mom and Pop small business there are hundreds about  corporate predators choking Main Street America. Then you have the outliers whereupon low level hustlers do psychic damage to straight and true Mom and Pops by their antics against consumers/customers. If only our present local, city, state and federal governments would follow the adage of the late, great Mark Twain that the purpose of government is to protect us from the crooks and scoundrels.  Nuff said!

Philip A Farruggio is regular columnist on itstheempirestupid website. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen and a graduate of Brooklyn College, class of 1974. Since the 2000 election debacle Philip has written over 500 columns on the Military Industrial Empire and other facets of life in an upside down America. He is also host of the It’s the Empire… Stupid radio show, co produced by Chuck Gregory. Philip can be reached at Read other articles by Philip.