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Loan Shark Case Studies

Loan Shark Case Studies: Anne's Story

loan shark story - anneLoan sharks will trap people in a spiral of debt, and resort to the most extreme bully tactics to enforce repayment.

Anne* from Manchester learnt this the hard way, when she fell into an illegal money lender’s trap:

It was coming up to Christmas, and Anne was worrying about affording presents for her two young children. Spotting an advert in her local paper for unsecured loans, she decided to call the number.

A man answered, and told her he would be able to lend her £150, but it would need to be secured on something. He came to her home and took her passport, explaining that this would be returned once she had repaid in full. He explained that she would need to repay £15 each week plus an extra £10 a week in interest.

She knew this was steep but she was desperate and believed she would be able to pay back within a few months with her wages from working in a shop. In the January, Anne fell ill and was unable to work. As a result of this she defaulted on a couple of payments. She was resting at home with her six year old daughter, when the loan shark barged in with two other men, demanding to know why she hadn’t paid. They pulled electrical items out of her living room, claiming the loan was secured against these.

Anne was terrified.

There was nowhere to go. I wasn’t even safe in my own house.

I was screaming, crying, pleading with him not take my stuff. To think, that my little girl had to see that.

A few days later she received a note from the loan shark through her door, to tell her that an extra £100 had been added to the debt for the ‘bailiff’ visit. From that point onwards, she paid the loan shark religiously retaining the post office slips as proof of payment. However the loan shark still appeared at her door, alleging she’d missed payments.

He would turn up late at night and on once occasion Anne had to hide, as he tried to climb in through her kitchen window. For every visit he would add an extra charge of £80 to £100. This continued for 5 years, with Anne paying back around £5000 on the loan of £150.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team caught the loan shark, and discovered Anne was not alone in her experience. The loan shark had around 900 ‘customers’ who he was harassing for payments, he believed to be due. He was given a lengthy custodial sentence and stripped of £270,000, money he had made illegally.

It was such a weight of my shoulders. It had got to the point where my nerves were shot and I was too frightened to answer the door. I’d realised he was never ever going to go away.

If he hadn’t been arrested I’d probably still be paying him now.

Loan Shark Case Studies: Jayne's Story

loan sharkSingle mum of two Jayne, worked in the local pub but pulling pints never earned her quite enough to pay the bills.

After confiding in one of the regulars about her troubles she was given a number for someone who could help her out.

Dave offered her a £500 loan. He would come to her home and collect £25 a week as repayment. Jayne signed a piece of pink paper to agree to this, convinced that he must be legitimate because he had paperwork.

However Jayne then moved home and was not able to work. Her priority was to feed the kids, so she asked Dave if she could have a break in the payments. He said no but offered her another loan for £1500, landing her in more financial hot water. Dave had a proposition for her, he had some work she could do, not bar work,
but working topless in a massage parlour and offering ‘extras.’

She was not willing to get involved, but as her situation grew worse through desperation and fear of what Dave may do to her, she gave him a call. This is when he came to her home and raped her. After this she still continued to pay what she could. She fell into deep depression and was admitted to hospital.

Jayne said “I deeply regret ever taking a loan out with this man. The last few months have been a nightmare. I have never felt in such a helpless situation’.

However her story does have a positive ending, a leaflet was posted through her door and she contacted the team. From that moment on she supported 100%. Now the man who lent her money is behind bars and Jayne is going from strength to strength.

The Stop Loan Sharks team have supported me through an emotional time. I was enrolled in counselling to help with my confidence and self esteem and now have savings for the first time in my life through the local credit union.

I have received budgeting and debt counselling advice from the citizens advice bureau and am now in full time employment, doing a level 2 NVQ and off benefits.

I now no longer just exist but live my life and look forward to the future. I am happier than I’ve ever been.

Loan Shark Case Studies: Mike's Story

loan shark story mikeAged 17, Mike* was keen to buy his first car. When Peter* offered to lend him £250, Mike agreed and began paying back in instalments until the loan was repaid.

It was only then that Peter mentioned additional interest, Mike wasn’t expecting this and found it difficult to repay, so Peter offered him a further loan to pay off the first.

This became a cycle and continued over the next two decades, which Mike described as “Sheer hell”. He was trapped in a never ending spiral of debt, and struggled to get by, despite working two jobs. He would make large repayments but his outstanding balance would never drop below £9000.

Over the years Mike paid a staggering £90,000 to the loan shark, all from an initial loan of £250. This had a hugely detrimental impact on Mike and his family. The loan shark attacked Mike in front of his children, he lost his home as he couldn’t pay the mortgage and three jobs due to depression. Aged 33, he suffered
a stress-related heart attack.

On more than one occasion, Mike attempted suicide.

You wouldn’t wish it on anybody. It affected my relationship with my wife. If I wasn’t at work I was home arguing, and it affected the kids. They had nothing.

Every Friday and Saturday he was sat outside my work – if I finished late he would text saying ‘its payday where are you’. It was a living nightmare.

The turning point was when Mike spotted an article in his local paper about a loan shark who had been prosecuted by the Team. Peter was now threatening to harm Mike’s wife and realising he couldn’t take any more Mike called the confidential hotline.

From that point forwards he was supported and Peter was prosecuted and imprisoned.

I wish I’d known there was somewhere to go years ago. The Team were fantastic, they offered so much support, and every promise they made they delivered.

It was such a relief when I found out Peter was arrested and then put in prison. I nearly broke down when the Team rang to say.

Mike is now looking to the future, and has a message to anyone in the grips of a loan shark:

I would tell anyone who is borrowing from a loan shark to be confident to stand up and speak out – the Team will support you the whole way.

Even a year later the Team are always there for me, regularly in touch and always on the end of the phone. Life is absolutely fantastic now- we don’t have to worry about money anymore and I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

Were going on holiday as a family for the first time in 17 years – I can’t imagine ever being able to do this before. Contacting the Team is the best thing I could ever have done.

I’m living the life I should be living.

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