A seemingly well-sourced Bloomberg article has the Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara working with the FBI to bring racketeering charges against payday loan mogul/racer/human garbage Scott Tucker.

You can read about Scott Tucker’s business here and about the FTC investigation here, but the short version is that Tucker was one of the guys to figure out how to make payday lending — an awful and often usurious and manipulative practice – into a national business with the help of Native American tribes he tried to use as a shield from regulations.

He then took this money and went racing. If you watched any ALMS races over the last few years you saw that black Level 5 P2 car that won numerous races and, last year, a Ferrari 458 Italia that raced at Daytona. Tucker is not without talent and reportedly dumped money from his payday lending into his very successful racing team.

If the Bloomberg report is correct and they are bringing RICO charges against Tucker that’s a big escalation, as they explain:

Online lenders have proved difficult for states to shut down because they often operate from jurisdictions with different or non-existent regulations. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, which was enacted in 1970 to target the Mafia and other organized crime groups, gives prosecutors more time to go after wrongdoing and sets stiffer penalties.

The government often uses RICO to pressure defendants into “pleading guilty because it’s so powerful and the penalties are so severe,” said Doug Burns, a former federal prosecutor in New York who’s now in private practice.

This might explain why Level 5 suddenly withdrew from the Tudor USCC series earlier this year.

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