Loan shark jailed for failing to pay back illegal profit

By on 02/02/2012 in News

A convicted loan shark has been sentenced to two years in prison after falling to pay back the cash he had profited illegally.

Hudson Obetoh, 54 of Sutton Coldfield was ordered to pay back the full amount he made through the illegal business to the courts at a hearing in June 2010. This totalled more than £163,000. He was warned that failure to pay would leave him facing a jail sentence.

However having paid back less than £7000, he appeared again at Birmingham Magistrates Court last week and was ordered to serve 726 days.

Obetoh ran 'Cash Operators' on Lozells Road in Aston. When officers from the England Illegal Money Lending Team, which is hosted by Birmingham City Council, searched the business in September 2008, they found loan agreements and payment records along with a passport, computer, camera and MP3 player, all of which belonged to Obetoh's customers.

A subsequent search of his home found £6,500 in cash as well as more items belonging to his customers including passports, travel documents, computers and jewellery.

Obetoh would confiscate his customers' passports as security for the loans. He would then charge them £35 to take them out of the bank vault; despite the fact they were just kept in his home. He even refused to return one woman's passport after she had repaid her loan, as her husband had not yet paid off his £1000 loan.

Obetoh was convicted of charges of deception, acquiring criminal property in 2009 and given a 12 month suspended sentence for the first two offences and a 22 week suspended sentence for the later, along with a 200 hour community service order.

Councillor Neil Eustace, Chair of Birmingham City Council's Public Protection Committee, said:  “Loan sharks will not be tolerated in Birmingham, as this case exemplifies. We will continue to tackle those who cause fear and misery in our communities and would always encourage people to steer clear of these criminals at all costs. We would urge anyone who has fallen prey to a loan shark or knows of any illegal money lending activity which is taking place to contact the England Illegal Money Lending Team in the strictest confidence on 0300 555 2222”

Nationally the Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured over 200 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 128 years worth of custodial sentences. They have written off almost £40million worth of illegal debt and helped over 18,000 victims.

Ends

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
Log-on to www.direct.gov.uk/stoploansharks
Note to editors: Funded by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, the Stop Loan Sharks project consists of three Illegal money lending teams; England, Scotland and Wales. Working in partnership with local Trading Standards Authorities up and down the country, the England Team consists 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. The project piloted in 2004, and expanded in 2007. So far the team have secured more than 200 prosecutions leading to custodial sentences in excess of 128 years.

Sarah-Jane Lynch - Communications Officer
Illegal Money Lending Team - Trading Standards
Telephone: 0121 693 1030 or 07881617119
E-mail:  sarah-jayne.lynch@birmingham.gov.uk

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