Loan shark collected £430,000 from victims

A loan shark who collected more than £430,000 from his victims has been jailed for two years.

Tuesday, 15th March 2016, 5:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th March 2016, 6:56 am
Preston Crown Court

David Jackson, 58, operated an illegal money lending business in Preston, and charged £60 interest for every £100 borrowed.

His son-in-law Mark Hayhurst, 33, also worked for him as a driver on his collection rounds, and loans were issued to at least 142 people.

Ben Mills, prosecuting, told the court how after leaving his job as a collector for a legitimate loan company, Jackson set up his own illegal lending business in 2006, encouraging many of the company’s customers to take loans from him instead.

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Hayhurst initially began working for Jackson as a driver on his collection rounds, but as Jackson spent more time at his home in Spain, Hayhurst took an active role in collecting payments and issuing loans.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) executed a warrant on a property owned by Jackson on Trower Street, Preston, and Hayhurst’s address on Garsdale Road in November 2014, seizing loan documentation and cash. They had received a tip-off from a debt adviser about concerns over the way the business was run.

The team also found evidence that Jackson had declared some of his income from money lending to HMRC, but was systematically hiding a significant percentage of his business by not submitting lists of his most lucrative victims to his accountant. During the years he ran his business, Jackson collected almost £430,000 from his victims.

Jackson, of Cabo Roig, Alicante, Spain, was jailed for two years after admitting illegal money lending and money laundering offences.

Hayhurst, of Garsdale Road, Ribbleton, was given a nine-month sentence, suspended for two years and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work, after admitting illegal money lending and money laundering offences.

Sentencing David Jackson, Recorder TJ Hannam said: “These are very serious offences and it’s clear in this case that your behaviour was deliberately criminal. You were persuasive, insidious and damaging.

“Your victims came from the most vulnerable areas of society, including the elderly and those addicted to gambling and very few were able to escape the spiral of debt in which you encouraged them.

“You collected just short of £430,000 and became so busy that you employed Mark Hayhurst, enabling you to live in Spain. There was a level of sophistication in your method, you kept detailed records of both your on and off the book loans and those records you suppressed from your tax returns varied between 28 per cent and 46 per cent of the value of your business.

“The aggravating factors are that you were active over a long period of time, you knew it was criminal, you failed to heed the warning of your accountant, targeted the vulnerable and involved a family member. Your offending is so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified.”

Cath Williams from the IMLT said rather than using intimidation, the lenders befriended clients to gain their trust. Most borrowed a few hundred pounds.

She said: “Victims would see them as friends.

“But they were not checking to see if people were able to afford to borrow. Jackson was encouraging people to take out loans in multiple names.”

County Coun Azhar Ali, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for health and wellbeing, added: “Loan sharks profit by preying on some of our most vulnerable people and have no regard for the misery caused by their illegal lending and intimidating behaviour.

“Our Trading Standards officers work closely with the Illegal Money Lending Team and the police to pursue loan sharks, and it’s encouraging to see that their hard work has paid off in this case by bringing these men before the courts.”

Tony Quigley, head of the Illegal Money Lending Team said: “We are continuing to crack down on illegal money lending and bringing those who break the law to justice. It’s important to remember that loan sharks are only motivated by greed so should never be used.

“We would urge anyone with information about loan sharking or victims of loan sharks to contact the team on 0300 555 2222.”

A Proceeds of Crime hearing will be held on April 15.