Watford man sentenced for illegal money lending

A Watford man who illegally lent money to people has been given a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

David Evans, 74, from Watford pleaded guilty to running an unlawful money lending business and was sentenced at St Albans Crown Court on 29th June 2023.

The case was prosecuted by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council Trading Standards and Hertfordshire Police.

The court heard how Evans had been running his illegal money lending scheme between2017 and 2021.

In order for a loans business to operate legally they need to have permission from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and conduct their service in a fit and proper way.

Historically, Evans worked for a legitimate, authorised credit business so he was aware that permission from the FCA was required.  He even went as far as to advise customers that he was operating personally and lending on “the down low”.

Evans had 175 borrowers on his loan books charging a minimum of 20% interest.  No one received any paperwork and borrowers were advised to repay loans into his personal account with the instruction not to annotate the word loan on any payments.  Over the period he operated he issued at least 655 loans to the value of £175,653.20 and collected at least 3,100 payments.

Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said:

“This is another great result for the team and for those victims who came forward to help bring this prosecution to court. 

“We would encourage anyone with information about illegal money lending activity to speak to us via the confidential hotline, so we can take action and remove unscrupulous lenders from our communities.”

“Our team are determined to make sure these offenders are caught and will continue to protect our residents.”

“Anyone with concerns about illegal money lending can contact the Illegal Money Lending Team 24/7 Helpline in confidence on 0300 555 2222 or access support online at www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Live Chat is available on the website between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.”

        Sentencing Evans Recorder Stern KC said “Essentially what it comes to is that you undertook to provide unlicensed personal loans to 175 individuals between September 2017 and September 2021. You did not seek authorisation for that during that period.  As you know full well (because you used to work in the business) moneylending is highly regulated. It ensures safety to the public”.