Illegal Moneylenders – Stop Now or Face the Consequences
Earlier this year, a local man, Martin Francis Le Moignan, was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £500 after pleading guilty to operating an illegal moneylending business. Despite having had his application for registration as a moneylender rejected by the OFT, Le Moignan had made illegal loans to various members of the local Filipino community. An investigation by the OFT led to this prosecution under the Moneylenders Act 1991.
Le Moignan’s illegal moneylending business was also investigated by the Financial Crime Unit under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2008 and last month it was declared in Court that he had benefited from the proceeds to the value of £99,117. This sum was made the subject of a confiscation order, with a custody term of two years in default. The combined prosecution and confiscation of the proceeds demonstrates how seriously the OFT and the Financial Crime Unit take illegal moneylending.
Mike Ball Chief Officer at the OFT said:
“Whilst we might have apprehended the only illegal moneylender in the Island, it is probably unrealistic to believe that to be the case. Illegal moneylending is a serious offence and is a priority for enforcement action. We would urge anyone involved in illegal moneylending to stop now and write off outstanding debts, or face the consequences”
Anyone who has borrowed money from an illegal moneylender is encouraged by the OFT to come forward. A register of fit and proper moneylenders is maintained by the OFT.
The OFT and the Financial Crime Unit will continue to work in partnership to combat the activities of illegal moneylenders and others who make funds through illegal means.
Mike Ball added:
“This should leave criminals in no doubt that we will go down the proceeds of crime route if we believe that they have significantly benefited from their crimes. In addition to illegal moneylenders, I am talking about other rogue traders, for example; traders selling counterfeit goods, including those selling falsely branded items via social media, cowboy builders and traders supplying ‘clocked’ vehicles. They are all in our sights.”
David Quirk, MHK, Chairman of the OFT, said:
“This is a prime example of enforcement agencies with limited resources working together to tackle serious crime. The Island will not tolerate illegal moneylending as there are inevitably victims who are generally the more vulnerable members of our community.”