A convicted loan shark has been ordered to pay back all of his available assets to the courts, following a financial investigation by the England Illegal Money Lending Team.
39 year old Paul Gilpin, from Egremont in Cumbria had assets amounting to £50,543.11 He must pay back this amount or face 18 months in prison.
Gilpin was investigated by the England Illegal Money Lending Team and Cumbria Constabulary, working in partnership with Cumbria County Council.
He previously pleaded guilty to offences for illegal money lending and money laundering, and in November last year was sentenced to a nine month custodial sentence on each count, suspended for 24 months, plus a 250 hour community service order.
At today’s hearing Simon Mortimer on behalf of the prosecution told Carlisle Crown Court, how Gilpin made a total of £256,170.11 over a period of six years through the illegal money lending business he ran from his home in Thorny Road.
His assets included the value of his home, £3850 in cash which was seized by England Illegal Money Lending Team investigators and approximately £9000 in bank accounts.
At sentencing the court heard how the investigation uncovered around 44 ‘victims’ borrowing varied amounts with varied interest, from a small loan of £30 to which £10 would be added as interest to a larger loan of £700 to which £400 would be added as interest.
Some borrowers handed over their bank cards and PIN’s to Gilpin so he could withdraw directly from their accounts.
By his own admission, Gilpin knew he needed a licence to lend money legally but decided not to get one.
Angela Jones, Trading Standards Service Manager at Cumbria County Council said:
– Angela Jones, Trading Standards Service Manager
"This result is great news for Cumbria Trading Standards and the Illegal Money Lending team, we hope that this will send a stark warning to those engaged in illegal money lending that we will do all we can to tackle this despicable crime.
We will continue to work in partnership to target loan sharks operating in our communities and prevent the most vulnerable from being trapped in debt and misery to unlicensed lenders."
Tony Quigley Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said
– Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team
“Loan sharks are motivated purely by greed. They do not offer a community service and cause nothing but misery. Through proceeds of crime legislation we are able to hit illegal money lenders where it hurts, preventing them from profiting through crime.
Today’s result sends a clear message that we will tackle this crime and strip offenders of their ill-gotten gains. We would urge anyone who is aware of an illegal money lenders operating to contact us in confidence on 0300 555 2222 as we will continue to stop them”
DC Welch of Cumbria Police said :
– DC Welch of Cumbria Police
"The investigation into criminals doesn't always stop after sentencing, we will progress this to make sure that we get them were it hurts, in their pockets.
Crime doesn’t pay and police will continue to ensure that criminals are targeted and any financial gain they make as a result of their crimes is seized.”
Nationally over 210 prosecutions have been secured for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 125 years worth of custodial sentences. They have written off almost £40million worth of illegal debt and helped over 18,000 victims.
The full report from ITV's Lookaround follows: