Adelaida Thompson, 65, was given two eight-month sentences, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work, following a hearing at York Crown Court. She has also been given a curfew of 7pm to 7am for three months..
Thompson and her 71-year-old husband, of Limestone Road, Burniston, said in an exclusive interview to The Scarborough News that money lending at high interest rates was the culture in The Phillipines and India, where it is known as "Bombay 5-6" - borrow 5 and pay back 6. They said in this case it involved close friends in the Scarborough Filipino community, all nurses at Scarborough Hospital or health-care workers, borrowing from Thompson, aware of the interest charged which, they said, was "cheaper than a Wonga loan".
Adelaida Thompson pleaded guilty to illegal money lending; she was not an authorised money lender and did not have the requisite licence from the Office of Fair Trading. She was investigated by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), working in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council and North Yorkshire Police.
Evidence showed that, over a period of more than four years, Thompson was lending to numerous people in the area’s Filipino community, many of them nurses. The sentence came following a warrant executed by the IMLT in January 2015 at Thompson’s home address, during which loan documentation and over £8,000 in cash was found.
Simon Mortimer, prosecuting on behalf of the Illegal Money Lending Team, told the court that records seized from Thompson’s home, which may have only covered a small part of the period in question, indicated that she had given out 167 loans to 29 different borrowers, loaning more than £113,000 and receiving over £142,000 in repayments, a profit of around £30,000. He said one woman was loaned £500 and had to pay back £100 a month interest until she could repay the capital as one lump sum.
Sentencing, Judge Batty said: “This sentence is on the basis that you are a loan shark, charging exorbitant rates of interest with penalties charged if payments were not made on time. On one occasion you went to a borrower’s house and demanded money."
The couple, in an interview with The Scarborough News, denied that any money was demanded, and disputed the figures involved, adding that Thompson pleaded guilty partly because of the worry of a jail term.
Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said “We are continuing to crack down on illegal money lending and bringing those who break the law to justice. It’s important to remember that loan sharks are only motivated by greed so should never be used.
"We would urge anyone with information about loan sharking or victims of loan sharks to contact the team on 0300 555 2222.”