A loan shark from Gillingham was ordered to pay back £55,000 in proceeds of crime yesterday (28, March) following a hearing at Maidstone Crown Court.
Ian Kevin Carroll, 59, of Nelson Road in Gillingham was sentenced to 16 months in prison back in September last year. He had previously pleaded guilty to counts of illegal money lending and money laundering.
The loan shark was given 3 months to pay the money or face a default sentence of an extra 11 months in prison.
Mr Carroll was investigated by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) who work in partnership with Medway Council’s Trading Standards Department and Kent Police.
When searches were conducted at Carroll’s home address back in September 2015, IMLT officers recovered a number of payment cards containing names, amounts and dates, as well as over £1,000 in cash.
Financial investigations demonstrated that the loan shark has issued a total of 282 loans to over 70 individuals.
Prosecutor Craig Evans told the court how Carroll’s interest rates were extremely high and would at times result in the borrower paying back at least double what they had borrowed.
Carroll’s loans either related to the supply of cash or home electricals (such as cookers, fridges, televisions). They were agreed verbally without anything put in writing or signed for.
When the loan shark was sentenced back in September 2016, Recorder McDonagh said that Carroll ‘took advantage of the financial vulnerabilities’ of his customers for his own benefit and that he was ‘aware he was committing an ongoing crime’.
One victim described how she was making repayments of over £450 a month to the loan shark. The victim had purchased loads of goods from Carroll after he had told her that he could do her a better deal on electrical appliances.
Mr Carroll would issue borrowers with a payment card, which would be amended each week to show the repayments being made and the balance outstanding. This would be torn up once the loan had been repaid, meaning that no paper trail was left in place.
Tony Quigley, Head of Service for the National Illegal Money Lending Team said:
“Another loan shark has been ordered to pay back for the crime that they once committed.
“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 and should never been used.
“If you or someone you know has been a victim of a loan shark, we urge you to get in touch with IMLT on 0300 555 2222. Your call will be handled confidentially by one of our trained officers.”
Cllr Jane Chitty, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder overseeing Trading Standards, said:
“Sometimes people who are struggling to manage their debt turn to loan sharks for help; however this can lead to long-term debt and sky-high interest rates that can spiral out of control.
“Our Trading Standards team works closely with the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) to raise awareness of illegal money lenders and to encourage victims to come forward. Thanks to their continued efforts, another offender has been identified and prosecuted.
“There are a number of professional agencies which offer free, confidential and independent advice on debt problems and I would encourage anyone who thinks they are a victim of an illegal money lender to report it to the team.”
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 370 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 318 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £71.9 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 26,500 people.
To report a loan shark:
Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Text a report to 078600 22116
Visit the website www.stoploansharks.co.uk
Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject