Convicted loan shark ordered to pay back almost £180,000
A convicted loan shark has been ordered to pay back all available assets to the courts, following a financial investigation by the England Illegal Money Lending Team.
Stephen Chapman, 48 of Gorse Road, Shrublands, Croydon had assets amounting to £177,426.44. He must pay back this amount within six months or face a further 30 months in prison.
Chapman was investigated by the England Illegal Money Lending Team working in partnership with Croydon Council Trading Standards. In December 2012 he was sentenced to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to eight charges of illegal money lending.
HHJ Waller ruled that Chapman had made a total of £220,840 over a period of at least six years through the illegal money lending business.
His assets included a house in Kent which he had bought with cash, the money in his bank accounts and the cash which was seized at his home.
During sentencing in 2012 the court heard how Chapman gave around 144 loans to at least 86 individuals across nine surrounding boroughs in the London area.
During the search of his home, the England Illegal Money Lending Team uncovered £1,500 in cash along with notebooks and other documentation listing names, amounts and interest added. There was a also a record of late payment charges. Some of the loan books dated back to January 2005.
Typical loans were usually for fairly small amounts, although on some occasions loans of up to £5000 were made. Steep interest payments were usually added- Loans included £200 with £300 back, a loan for £150 for which £240 had to be repaid within a period of just five months, and £2000 back on a £1000 loan. Although borrowers were sometimes given paperwork at the beginning, they weren’t always given this and soon lost track of how much they were repaying.
Councillor Simon Hoar, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “Those individuals who were forced by Chapman to pay through the nose for loans they couldn’t afford will be glad to see that, in addition to his prison sentence, he has been forced to hand over the proceeds of his illegal trade.
“Others engaged in this activity, which seeks to take advantage of those least able to afford these crippling interest rates, should take heed of the court’s decision and be aware that they will be caught and punished accordingly.”
Tony Quigley Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said
“Loan sharks exploit their borrowers, charging them exorbitant amounts of interest and profiting at their expense. As this case exemplifies, we are continuing to crack down on this crime and under proceeds of crime legislation strip offenders of their ill gotten gains.
We will then use this cash to fund awareness raising projects, which benefit communities and help to warn others about the dangers of loan sharks, so they don’t fall into this trap.
We would urge anyone who has been the victim of a loan shark to call us in confidence on 0300 555 2222 so we can take action. Lines are open 24/7 and callers can remain anonymous if they wish.”
Nationally the Stop Loan Shark Project has secured 310 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 195 years worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £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
- E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 310 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 195 years-worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £42 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: 10 April 2014