Loan shark must pay back £52,000 or face jail
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Communities and also in Legal
Marylou Gonzales, loan shark
A convicted loan shark has been ordered to pay back all of her available assets to the courts, or be jailed for 18 months.
Marylou Gonzales, 44, of Vine Road, Southampton has six months to pay back assets of £52,694.22.
Southampton Crown Court heard that Gonzales made £125,000 lending to members of the local Filipino community over a six year period.
It is believed that she had around 30-60 borrowers.
Gonzales was arrested in August 2011 when officers from the England Illegal Money Lending Team executed a warrant at her home and seized documentary evidence of the illegal business.
The crook's assets include a house in England as well as a share of property in the Philippines.
She previously pleaded guilty to illegal money lending and in April this year was sentenced to a 12-month community order and 150 hours of unpaid work.
Councillor Jacqui Rayment, Southampton City Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for communities, said: “These are difficult times for many households and there’s a lot of pressure to make ends meet. People who may have lost their jobs, have outstanding debts or are struggling to get credit through the usual means can feel like they’ve run out of options and turn to loan sharks.
“Today’s outcome demonstrates that we will not sit by and let these predators take advantage of desperate people.
“The council does not use the Proceeds of Crime Act lightly but we will not allow criminals to benefit from their activities. Funds recovered from this case will be used to help victims and benefit the wider community.
“We will continue to work alongside the England Illegal Money Lending Team to track down and prosecute loan sharks, as well as to offer practical advice to help people through tough times.”
Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “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."
Nationally over 210 prosecutions have been secured for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 130 years worth of custodial sentences.
The Illegal Money Lending Teams have written off almost £40million worth of illegal debt and helped over 18,000 victims.