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Furzedown woman sentenced for illegal credit brokerage

A Furzedown woman has been sentenced for illegal credit brokerage in the first prosecution of its kind for the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT).

Floridel Atilano, 58, from Edencourt Road in Wandsworth, was sentenced to a 12-month community order and ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work, following a hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Thursday, May 27.

She pleaded guilty to unlawfully engaging in credit broking at a previous court hearing on March 23.

Credit broking is a regulated activity under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. Credit brokers offer services to help people find credit, such as a loan, by comparing the market and making introductions to companies that can provide deals.

Ms Atilano pleaded guilty to running an unlicensed credit business for three years, where around £97,000 loans were issued in the Filipino community.

The case was prosecuted by the IMLT in partnership with the London Borough of Merton, Richmond upon Thames & Wandsworth Regulatory Services and the Metropolitan Police.

Officers executed a warrant at Atilano’s address in July 2018 where documents containing evidence were seized.

During the search, notebooks and a quantity of written notes and envelopes were found stashed underneath a mattress in a downstairs bedroom.

Simon Mortimer, prosecuting, told the court the offences took place between 1 March 2015 and 24 July 2018 for which authority was required under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

The evidence recovered from Atilano’s address showed an unlicensed credit business had been operating between April 2017 until the date of her arrest.

During this period a total of 116 loans were provided to at least 33 separate individuals in the Filipino community ranging from £500.00 to £2000.00.

The evidence showed that the total value of all the loans issued was £97,500.00, the total interest charged was £24,125.00 and the total amount repaid was £116,675.00.

Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “I hope this case sends a clear message that the Illegal Money Lending Team will take action and prosecute those who are caught conducting credit activities without the appropriate authorisation.

“I would urge anyone who has had a loan with no paperwork and is being charged huge interest and experiencing threats or harassment, to come forward and access specialist support.

“Our helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0300 555 2222 and you can live chat with a support worker on our website between 9am and 5pm on weekdays.”