A PENSIONER couple have admitted to running an illegal money lending business.
Stockton husband and wife Alan Fromson, 80, and Joyce Fromson, 78, appeared at Teesside Crown Court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to illegal money lending between July 2007 and October 2019.
The pair were investigated by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) working in partnership with Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council Trading Standards and Cleveland Police.
Specialist officers executed a search warrant at the couple’s home in Green Leas, Carlton last October and recovered a large amount of documentation and electronic devices.
They admitted to unlawfully engaging in the activities of a consumer credit business for which a licence was required and money lending when not authorised.
They will be sentenced on November 17 at Teesside Crown Court.
Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said: “We are committed to doing everything possible to eradicate loan sharks in Teesside.
“Perpetrators need to realise that this kind of activity will not be tolerated and by working with our partners we will do everything in our power to ensure those involved are brought to justice.
“We would urge anyone aware of any illegal money lending activity to call us in confidence on 0300 555 2222 so we can take action. Our lines are open 24/7 and callers can remain anonymous”
The IMLT have launched a new smartphone app to make it quicker and easier for people to report loan sharks and access support services.
The Stop Loan Sharks app includes a contact form and phone number to report loan sharks, as well as information to help victims of illegal money lending to get support.
It also offers users advice on the tell-tale signs that someone is a loan shark. These include offering cash loans without any paperwork, charging extortionate interest, use of benefit or bank cards as security, and threatening behaviour or violence to get money.
The IMLT have secured more than 400 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 586 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £83 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 30,000 people.
Anyone needing support can get in touch via the Stop Loan Sharks Live Chat at www.stoploansharks.co.uk or by calling the 24-hour helpline on 0300 555 2222.