Illegal lender given confiscation order for almost £3,000

A 51-year-old Sunderland man has been handed a court confiscation order for £2,959.25 after he admitted illegal money lending.

Graeme Lamb, of Seafields, was given a suspended sentence at Newcastle Crown Court in December last year after admitting illegal money lending and money laundering between 2014 and 2019. His mother Brenda Lamb, 83, of Bromarsh Court, Sunderland, admitted the same charge, but did not appear due to poor health. No confiscation order was made against her.

The alert was first raised about the Lambs’ operation through an anonymous call to the confidential England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) hotline. The IMLT launched an investigation in partnership with Sunderland Trading Standards and Northumbria Police.

The court heard investigators found evidence of 361 loans being issued to 78 people ranging in value from £50 to £1,500. Interest rates of between 40% and 69.5% were charged.

The court was told that Brenda Lamb had left the employment of a legitimate loan company and started her own business called Percuniam Solutions Ltd. When Graeme Lamb lost his job, he started working for his mother. Neither of them was authorised to conduct a credit business.

Both defendants were handed 12-month jail terms suspended for 18 months for each offence to run concurrently. Graeme Lamb was also ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work.

The case was back before Newcastle Crown Court on Friday, April 5, for a Proceeds of Crime hearing.

Judge Mallett ordered that Graeme Lamb should pay £2,959.25. In respect of Brenda Lamb, the judge said no order would be made. The pair were ordered to pay costs of £12,048.37.

Head of the IMLT Tony Quigley said: “All legitimate lenders must have the correct authorisation and there are rules they must comply with that protect borrowers.

“We are pleased that a confiscation order has been made in this case. This money will help towards our continued fight against illegal lenders in England.”

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the IMLT. Since 2004, it has supported over 31,500 people and written off over £92 million of illegal debt. Over 418 prosecutions have been secured for illegal money lending and related activity, which has resulted in custodial sentences adding up to almost 600 years.

Anyone who believes they, or someone they know, is a victim of a loan shark, is urged to contact the IMLT in confidence.  They can call the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222; text a report to 07860 022116; email reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk or send a private message on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject. They can also visit the website www.stoploansharks.co.uk, where there is a live chat facility.