A Liverpool loan shark who targeted vulnerable customers was ordered to pay tens of thousands of pounds back.
Anthony Suku, 66, ran an illegal money lending business across the city for a period of three years through which he issued unlicensed loans to those seeking cash for a variety of things such as weddings and funerals. Earlier this year Liverpool Crown Court heard Suku charged “significant” interest rates on the loans, raking in around £163,000 from 26 people.
Suku was handed a 22 month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, by His Honour Judge Andrew Menary KC. The case against Suku was brought by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) in partnership with Liverpool Trading Standards and Merseyside Police.
He has now been ordered to pay back £40,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) after a hearing at the crown court last month.
In April, the court was told Suku admitted charges of unlawful money lending and money laundering at an earlier hearing. His business was said to have started small, with the former doorman initially lending money from his savings to people he knew. Then it “mushroomed” into people that borrowers knew as well.
The unlicensed loans activity took place between March 2018 and July 2021 and Suku would provide multiple loans to his borrowers. At its height, Suku’s endeavour grew to loans to around 26 people.
Investigators executed a warrant at Suku’s home in July 2021 and recovered a “loans” book containing details of loans issued and collections as well as other paperwork and a computer and mobile phone.
A notebook detailing repayments between 19 May and 2 July 2021 showed that Suku collected £6,630 over this 44 day period. Financial Investigators for the Illegal Money Lending Team estimated that Suku was receiving an annual income of £52,000 from his criminal lending. The court was told that Suku accepted he charged “significant” interest rates.
Alongside the suspended sentence, Suku was ordered to 250 hours of unpaid community work and adhere to a curfew of 8pm-6am for three months.
Passing sentence, His Honour Judge Menary said, “This was not a large or sophisticated operation” and that while Suku had “not used force or the threat of force” to ensure people paid, the “amounts involved were not insignificant”.
Judge Menary added, “This is criminal activity and people need to be protected from unlicensed money lenders.” Tony Quigley, head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “We use the POCA legislation to ensure that these criminals are forced to repay at least some of their ill-gotten gains.
“We are determined to ensure that they do not continue to benefit financially from criminal activity.”