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By Tristan Harris Friday 05 September 2014 Updated: 05/09 16:50
A BROMSGROVE loan shark has been given a nine-month suspended jail sentence and 200 hours of community service after giving out 500 agreements without a licence.
Kevin Donaghey, of Old Birmingham Road, Lickey End, was investigated by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) working in partnership with Worcestershire Trading Standards and West Mercia Police.
One victim, who had a loan from Donaghey and could not keep up the repayments, described his life as 'a living hell', adding on one occasion the 49-year-old turned up at his workplace, using expletives and demanding the money be repaid.
Another who took out a loan for £5,000 was told he had to hand over his driving licence and passport as security and never received the documentation back.
He had to pay £1,000-a-month interest until he could afford to pay the cash back in one lump sum. By that time, he had paid £7,000 in interest alone.
Cash, documentation and other evidence was seized from Donaghey's home when IMLT officers executed a warrant in October last year. They showed that, without an Office of Fair Trading licence, he had been running his business from February 2009 until that time, giving out 500 loans, advancing his customers of more than £170,000. A proceeds of crime investigation is ongoing.
Worcester Regulatory Services joint committee chair, Coun Mark Bullivant, said: "Loan sharks can make people’s lives a misery, preying on the vulnerable and often leaving then in more debt than they started with.
“Our team are determined to make sure these offenders are caught and will continue to protect our residents.”
Nationwide, the Stop Loan Shark Project has secured more than 310 prosecutions for illegal money-lending and similar activity, leading more than 200 years worth of custodial sentences.
They have written off £55million worth of illegal debt and helped almost 24,000 victims.
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