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London loan sharks sentenced to 16 months in prison

A 54 year old man and 54 year old women who operated as loan sharks in Willesden, London, have today been sentenced to 16 months in prison following a hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

A 54 year old man and 54 year old women who operated as loan sharks in Willesden, London, have today been sentenced to 16 months in prison following a hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Gordon Sylvester was sentenced to 16 months in prison for illegal money lending, plus 4 months for forgery.

Imelda SUMANGIL was sentenced to 16 months in prison for illegal money lending.

Gordon SYLVESTER of Boreham Avenue, Newham, London and Imelda SUMANGIL of Washbourne Road, Willesden, London were both investigated by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) working in partnership with Newham Council Trading Standards and the Metropolitan Police.

On behalf of the prosecution Stuart Jessop told the court “This was a sophisticated illegal money lending business, supported by numerous documents. It was a joint enterprise. Gordon Sylvester and Imelda Sumangil lent to vulnerable members of the community, people who would struggle to get a loan were targeted.

One victim was held virtual prisoner for over an hour until he agreed to take on the debts of his entire family.”

Sylvester and Sumangil had both been running the business without the required licence from 30th March 2010 until 26th November 2014.

On 10th September 2014 a warrant was executed by officers from the IMLT at Sylvester’s address. A further warrant was issued on the 26th November 2014 at Sumangil’s address.

SUMMARY OF CASE

  • Activities of 2 people Gordon Sylvester and Imelda Sumangil have jointly been operating a consumer credit business providing cash loans, across the city of London.
  • Upon arrest of Sylvester had £18,340 in cash on his person.
  • During the search, items were seized including documents and loan agreements.
  • Sylvester was bailed under S47 (3) pending further enquires after his arrest.
  • Sumangil was bailed under S47 (3) pending further enquires after her arrest.

  • One victim borrowed £4000. The victim was told that any late payments would have a penalty charge of £10.00 per day. The victim was told to pay back £580 per month for the next 10 months. The victim handed over proof of identification to Sylvester such as passport and payslip. The same victim borrowed a further £1000 for a family emergency. The loan of £1000 was to be paid back in instalments at £860.00 per month for 6 – 8 months.
  • When the victim could not pay back the loan Sylvester started to shout at the victim. The victim felt threatened and unsafe and did not know what Sylvester would do to them.
  • Another victim borrowed £4000 and the victim was told by Sylvester to pay back £750 per month over 8 months. The victim was told that any late payments would be charged at £50.00 per day.
  • One Victim was told to sign a loan agreement and the victim was not allowed to read it.

  • One victim took a £2000 loan out from Sylvester and told to pay back £500 a month over 6 months, totalling £3000 paid back. Late payments were charged at £150 per month as a penalty.

  • Sylvester told one victim that the victim would take on all the debts of the victim’s family and penalties. Sylvester told the victim ‘you need to sign this piece of paper, you’re responsible now’. The victim did sign as Sylvester Imelda was refusing to leave the victims home.

  • When one victim could not pay due to family problems Sylvester said ‘I don’t want to hear about your f***ing family problems, I want my money’.

  • One victim asked Sylvester for a £4000 loan. The victim was told there would a £2000 interest charge on top of the loan. The victim handed over proofs of identification such as passport, wage slip, bank statements and gave Sylvester 8 signed cheques. The same victim asked for another £4000 loan. The victim said they handed over 4 signed bank cheques as security and guarantor.

  • One victim was scared of Sylvester because they heard he was going to pay someone to kill another victim.

  • One victim loaned £3,000 and was asked to pay £725 every month for 6 months.

    Upon sentencing Judge Peters QC said “You lent to people who could not get loans elsewhere and they were sucked into the business. The court must pass custodial sentences in cases like this where there is exploitation of the vulnerable.”

    Councillor Unmesh Desai, Newham Council’s cabinet member for crime and anti-social behaviour, said: “Gordon Sylvester and Imelda Sumangil were ruthless individuals who intimidated and took advantage of vulnerable people who were desperate for money. They made the lives of their victims a living hell, charging extortionate rates for late repayments and threatening them with violence if they were unable to repay.

    I am delighted our trading standards officers were able to help the Illegal Money Lending Team to close in on the pair, and now they are where they should be, behind bars. I hope their victims take some comfort from this and I would urge anyone with information about loan sharks to give the hotline a call so that we can get them off the streets as well.”

    Tony Quigley, Head of Illegal Money Lending Team said, “Loan Sharks are not a community service and target people who can least afford it, often charging extortionate amounts of interest. We would urge anybody who is under the control of a loan shark to call us on 0300 555 2222 and we can help.”

Nationally the Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 324 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 206 years worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £62 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 26,000 victims.

To report a loan shark:

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003
E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk
Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject

Notes to Editors

The National Trading Standards Board is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.

The National Trading Standards Board provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.

The Stop Loan Sharks Project consists of three Illegal money lending teams in England, Scotland and Wales.The National Trading Standards Board has responsibility for the England and Wales Illegal Money Lending Teams that are hosted by Birmingham City Council and Cardiff Council. There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 310 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 200 years-worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £55 million worth of illegal debt and helped nearly 24,000 people.

The Illegal Money Lending Teams in England and Wales work in partnership with local Trading Standards Authorities in their related countries. They consist of specialist officers who investigate and prosecute illegal money lending and related activity and LIAISE officers who support victims and raise awareness of the dangers of borrowing from illegal money lenders.