A man has been arrested on suspicion of illegal lending and money laundering offences. His arrest came following an operation in West Bromwich, Sandwell.
Police and officers from the England Illegal Money Lending Team (ILMT) attended an address in the town yesterday May 24. Electronic devices were recovered during a search of the property.
A 41-year-old man was taken into custody for questioning and has since been released under investigation pending further investigation. Tony Quigley, leader of England’s Illegal Money Lending Team – a group that fights loan sharks – said: “Illegal money lending is a blight on our communities.
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“These criminals deliberately target some of the most vulnerable in our society, using high interest rates and threats of violence to extort money from their victims. It is important that we protect residents and ensure that they know how to avoid loan sharks, especially in these times when we are all trying to make our money work a little more.
“Other alternatives are always available. We will not tolerate this crime in our communities and will continue to prosecute and prosecute those involved.”
IMLT works in partnership with Sandwell Council Trading Standards Officers to investigate and prosecute illegal money lenders. Councilor Danny Millard, Sandwell Cabinet Member for Communities, added: “We fully support the work of the Illegal Money Lending Team.
“The loan sharks are unregulated, often provide loans without any paperwork and charge exorbitant interest rates. In many cases, victims are introduced to the lender either through a friend, a member of family or because they are known in the community.
“With many individuals and families struggling to make ends meet as the cost of living rises, residents may be tempted to turn to loan sharks for a quick fix to bolster their finances.”
A recent report by the Center for Social Justice (CSJ), titled Swimming with Sharks, estimates that 1.08 million people may currently owe money to loan sharks, with some lenders demanding sexual favors as repayment to borrowers. . Warning signs that you might be dealing with a loan shark include missing documents when making a loan, refusing to give detailed loan information, intimidation and threats, taking items such as a bank card or passport until the debt is repaid. paid, and to take things from you if you don’t pay on time.
Residents, charities, community and voluntary groups, schools and statutory bodies can apply for grants of up to £5,000 for activities that highlight the dangers of loan sharks. The Stop Loan Sharks Community Fund is made available from money seized from convicted loan sharks under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
Organizations will need to demonstrate the positive impact their project would have on their community and how it will help fight loan sharks. Learn more about scholarships and apply at www.stoploansharks.co.uk/poca-funding.
The closing date for applications is 30 June 2022. Anyone concerned about illegal money lending can contact the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 helpline in confidence on 0300 555 2222 or access the online support on www.stoploansharks.co.uk.
Live chat is available on the website between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Sandwell residents can find links to useful information, advice and support from the council and other organizations at www.sandwell.gov.uk/costoflivinghelp.
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