Liverpool man sentenced for illegal loans business

An illegal money lender who pocketed over £163,000 from vulnerable customers has been sentenced.

Anthony Suku, 65, from Liverpool, admitted charges of unlawful money lending and money laundering at an earlier hearing.

Appearing in Liverpool Crown Court today (25th April), Suku was sentenced to 22 months in prison, suspended for 18 months. He will also have to complete 250 hours of unpaid community work and adhere to a curfew of 8pm-6am for 3 months.

The case was prosecuted by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) in partnership with Liverpool Trading Standards and Merseyside Police.

Simon Mortimer, prosecuting, said Suku was running an illegal money lending business over a period of three years.

The court was told that he made at least £163,000 from his criminal enterprise lending to a minimum of 26 people. The illegal business started small scale, with Suku, who used to work as a doorman, lending money from his savings to people he knew. Then it “mushroomed” into people that borrowers knew as well.

The unlicensed loans activity took place between March 2018 and July 2021 and Suku would provide multiple loans to his borrowers. Loans were for a variety of things including weddings and funerals.

Investigators executed a warrant at Suku’s home in July 2021 and recovered a “loans” book containing details of loans issued and collections as well as other paperwork and a computer and mobile phone.

A notebook detailing repayments between 19th May and 2nd July 2021 showed that Suku collected £6,630 over this 44 day period. Financial Investigators for the Illegal Money Lending Team estimated that Suku was receiving an annual income of £52,000 from his criminal lending. The court was told that Suku accepted he charged “significant” interest rates.

Speaking after the hearing, head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, Tony Quigley said: “We will continue to prosecute those who lend illegally. Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a loan shark is urged to contact the confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222.”

In passing sentence, His Honour Judge A Menary KC said: “This was not a large or sophisticated operation” and that while Suku had “not used force or the threat of force” to ensure people paid, the “amounts involved were not insignificant”. His Honour stated “This is criminal activity and people need to be protected from unlicensed money lenders”.

A POCA timetable has been set.