01:00PM, Friday 31 August 2018
A loan shark couple who targeted the Filipino community have been ordered to pay back nearly £150,000.
Jesus Gutierrez, 57, and Maria Gutierrez, 56, both of Borderside, were sentenced at Reading Crown Court on Friday, April 6, after pleading guilty to illegal money lending and money laundering offences.
Jesus Gutierrez was handed an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and made to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
Maria Gutierrez received a six-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, and made to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
Following a hearing at Reading Crown Court on Friday, August 17, Jesus Gutierrez was ordered to pay back £117,471 in proceeds of crime.
He has three months to pay the confiscation order or face 18 months in prison.
Maria Gutierrez was ordered to pay back £26,031 in proceeds of crime. She must pay the money within three months or face nine months in prison.
The couple were also ordered to pay the prosecution costs of £8,000.
The court was told that the couple had been running an illegal money lending business from 2013 to 2016, issuing more than 150 loans ranging from £500 to £20,000. They preyed particularly on the Filipino community, and charged 50 per cent interest on all their loans.
One victim borrowed £2,000 from the couple to pay for his mother’s funeral costs, and was forced to repay £3,000 over the next 10 months.
Cabinet member for regulation and consumer protection at Slough Borough Council Cllr Pavitar K Mann (Lab, Britwell and Northborough), said: “I am pleased with the outcome of this case and the council’s part in bringing these individuals to justice.
“I hope their conviction sends out a message to other loan sharks that this activity will not be tolerated and you will be prosecuted.
“My advice to residents who find themselves in a difficult financial situation is to steer clear of loan sharks, you will only run into more trouble.”
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