Lincolnshire Credit Union Blog

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Lincolnshire Loan Shark receives 12 months prison sentence

Date added - 11 Oct 2016

NEWS RELEASE! From the Illegal Money Lending Team

Lincolnshire Loan Shark receives 12 months prison sentence.

A man from Nottinghamshire who operated as a loan shark in Lincolnshire was sentenced on 27th September 2016 to 12 months in prison following a hearing at Lincoln Crown Court by HHJ Heath Q.C.

Samuel John Bromfield, 60, of Ferry Lane, North Muskham was investigated by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), working in partnership with Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire County Council Trading Standards, and Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire Police. He pleaded guilty to two counts of Illegal Money Lending at an earlier hearing.

The IMLT executed warrants at the home address and business premises of Bromfield in August 2014. Upon investigation, cash and documentation were seized at Bromfield’s home address, whilst more cash and diaries were seized at his business premises, a taxi firm in Grantham. The court heard how Bromfield mainly lent to taxi drivers, claiming to help them out.

Simon Mortimer, prosecuting, told the court how Bromfield conducted an illegal money lending business from his business premises over a period of nearly 3 years. Analysis of the items seized revealed that Bromfield had been lending since at least 2011, providing over 940 loans to over 100 different individuals in that time. He had received at least £142,154 in re-payments from that illegal business. Bromfield had loaned out at least £166,046 on which he had charged interest of £53,491. At the time of Bromfield’s arrest, he had at least £71,977 owing to him.

One victim described how their life spiralled downwards due to stress and worry about the debts owed to Bromfield. Due to the level of repayments, the victim had to turn to legitimate lenders and family for funds. He even sold his personal belongings to maintain payments. He described how Bromfield told him that if he didn’t pay, the debt would be sold to a local chap with a bad reputation and he would owe £30,000.

Upon Sentencing, HHJ Heath Q.C said:

“You unlawfully engaged in an illegal money lending business without a license when you knew very well you needed one. These stringent rules exist to protect vulnerable people. You knew you wouldn’t get a license because of past CCJs (County Court Judgements). You engaged in illegal activity by running a profitable and unlawful money lending business. Therefore, I sentence you to 12 months imprisonment.”

Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team said:

“We are continuing to crack down on illegal money lending and bringing those who break the law to justice. It’s important to remember that loan sharks are only motivated by greed so should never be used.

“We would urge anyone with information about loan sharking or victims of loan sharks to contact the team on 0300 555 2222.”

Councillor Glynn Gilfoyle, Chair of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Community Safety Committee, said:

“Loan sharks can seem like an easy way of getting cash quick if you are having money problems, but today’s sentencing is a reminder to everyone that they are illegal and are likely to leave you in more debt with their extortionate lending rates, causing you added stress and worry, not to mention their often unsavoury methods to recoup their money

“We advise people struggling to secure a loan from a bank or building society and to consider a credit union loan as a safer alternative.”

Ian Newell, Business and Public Protection Manager from Lincolnshire Trading Standards, said:

"Loan sharks take advantage of some of the most vulnerable people in society. They profit from other people’s hardship and will often enforce repayment by blackmail or threats of violence

"The County Council, together with the England Illegal Money Lending Team, is trying to protect the residents by clamping down on loan sharks and preventing them from operating in the area."

Loan sharks operate illegally, without the correct permissions from the Financial Conduct Authority. These criminals usually appear friendly at first but quickly trap their borrowers into spiralling debt. As the debts can’t legally be enforced many lenders will resort to the most extreme and callous methods to enforce repayment.

Paperwork is rarely offered so victims are often in the dark as to how much they are actually paying. Exorbitant extra amounts and interest are added at random- the highest interest seen by an illegal lender was equivalent to 131,000% APR. In some cases the loan sharks have been known to take items as security including passports, driving licences and bank or post office cards with the PIN in order to withdraw directly from borrowers’ accounts.

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 349 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 227 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £63.5 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 25,500 people.

To report a loan shark:
Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Text a report to 078600 22116
E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk
Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject