Proceeds of crime law used to snare loan shark\'s assets
New proceeds of crime laws have been used to bring to justice a loan shark for the first time in England. The 2002 laws have previously only been used to seize the wealth and property amassed by drug dealers and fraudsters through their crimes. The loan shark, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was yesterday (Tues 11 October) found guilty of four charges under the new law – conspiracy to convert criminal property, engaging in activities requiring a consumer credit act licence, possession of criminal property and conspiracy to handle stolen goods. During his reign of fear, the man, who lives in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, loaned thousands of pounds to needy people and then charged them extortionate interest rates of up to 1,300 per cent. Detectives investigating the case believe he made up to £250,000 by loaning money between May 2003 and January 2004. He forced his debtors to hand over benefit books as security for the loans and would drive them to post offices so they could collect their benefits, which he would seize immediately. He is now awaiting sentence after being remanded in custody by John Bevan, QC, and could also face proceedings to confiscate money and property allegedly bought with the illegal proceeds.