Loan shark to serve six months in prison and pay back £25,000
A 44 year old man who operated as a loan shark in the Sale area of Trafford, has been sentenced to six months in prison, and ordered to pay back £25,000 following a hearing at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court yesterday.
Stephen Rennie of Mossfield Green, Eccles, Salford pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to illegal money lending and money laundering. He was investigated and prosecuted by the England Illegal Money Lending Team working in partnership with Trading Standards authorities in Salford and Trafford.
Rennie has already served two months on remand. He must pay back £25,000 by way of a confiscation order or will face a further twelve months in prison.
Stephen Rennie had previously worked for a large licensed company, before setting up his own licensed money lending business for 5 years. In 2011 he allowed his licence to lapse and continued to lend money illegally.
Rennie was first arrested at his partners address in Sale in June this year, after the England Illegal Money Lending Team executed a warrant. He was found with a folder containing documentation relating to the illegal business.
This showed that at least 63 individuals had received some form of credit. There were 17 names with figures which had been brought forward, suggesting there were further loan books which had been discarded or destroyed.
Typically interest was charged at a flat rate between 46% and 75%, and at the time of his arrest Rennie was due a return in excess of £52,000.
When he was charged with the offences in September he claimed he was committing the crime under duress but wouldn’t provide further details. After he told officers he would continue to lend money illegally in spite of his bail conditions he was remanded in custody.
Several customers told investigators how had never discussed paperwork or the amount of interest that would be paid. Extra was added on for late payments, and some victims felt intimidated by Rennie’s persistent visits.
Upon sentencing His Honour Judge Lewis said that “Immediate custodial sentences are required for this type of offending.”
Tony Quigley Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said “We are continuing to crack down on loan sharks and bring them to justice through the courts. Loan sharks like Rennie leave their borrowers in the dark as to how much they are paying, whilst profiting at their expense. We’d urge people to always steer clear of loan sharks and to speak to us if they have been a victim of this crime. Our confidential hotline is open 24/7 on 0300 555 2222”
Nationally the Stop Loan Shark Project has secured 298 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading more than 189 years worth of custodial sentences. They have written off almost £42 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 23,000 victims.
To report a loan shark:
Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003
Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject
For more information contact Sarah-Jane Lynch, Illegal Money Lending Team communications officer, on 0121 693 1030 or 07881617119 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To speak to the National Trading Standards Board with a more general enquiry please contact the Trading Standards Institute press office on 0845 6089430 or email@example.com.
Notes to editors
The National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.
NTSB provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.
The Stop Loan Sharks Project consists of three Illegal money lending teams in England, Scotland and Wales. The NTSB has responsibility for the England and Wales Illegal Money Lending Teams that are hosted by Birmingham City Council and Cardiff Council. There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured 298 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to more than 189 years-worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £43 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 23,000 people.
The Illegal Money Lending Teams in England and Wales work in partnership with local Trading Standards Authorities in their related countries. They consist of specialist officers who investigate and prosecute illegal money lending and related activity and LIAISE officers who support victims and raise awareness of the dangers of borrowing from illegal money lenders.
DATE:13 December 2013