London loan sharks ordered to pay back over £350,000

A brother and sister who operated a loan shark business in London have been ordered to pay back more than £350,000.

John Mulvey, aged 57, and Mary Wilding, 71, appeared before Isleworth Crown Court back in February 2020 when they were each sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years after admitting illegal money lending.

The case was back before back before the court on Tuesday, October 10 for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing where the pair were ordered to pay back a total of £357,719.98. They have three months to pay and default sentences of two and half years for Mulvey and two years for Wilding were fixed.

The case was prosecuted by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) in partnership with Croydon Council and Lambeth Council Trading Standards Departments and the Metropolitan Police.

The IMLT first executed warrants at Mulvey’s home, in Greyhound Lane, Lambeth, and Wilding’s home in Limpsfield Road, South Croydon, back in December 2017. Officers found thousands of pounds in cash as well as loan agreements and loan books.

The court at the time heard that 404 loans, valued at over £334,000, had been provided to 53 regular borrowers since 2013. Victims were charged 25% interest on loans and told to keep the agreement secret.

Tony Quigley, head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “This is a case that has been going on for some years, but it shows that we are determined to ensure these illegal lenders do not continue to benefit from their criminal behaviour.

“Part of the money that is paid back through POCA will be reinvested to strengthen our work to protect the most vulnerable from these ruthless and predatory lenders.

“I would urge anyone with any information about illegal lending activity to report it through our confidential hotline, so we can take action and remove these people from our communities.”

The Centre for Social Justice estimates that around 1.08 million people are borrowing from loan sharks in the UK. Since its launch in 2004, the IMLT has supported over 31,000 people and written off over £91 million worth of illegal debt, securing over 410 prosecutions for illegal money lending.

Anyone who has been affected by illegal money lending should call the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222 or access support online at www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Live Chat is available on the website from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.