Page last updated at 18:14 GMT, Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Jailed Leicester loan shark charged 1,200% interest

A loan shark who threatened borrowers in Leicester and charged interest rates of up to 1,200% has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Anthony Johnson, 41, of the city's Dudley Avenue, admitted running a credit business without a licence and obtaining criminal property.

Nottingham Crown Court heard he told one couple to sell their home and charged them the 1,200% interest.

Judge Joan Butler said his actions were "despicable".

'Dead man' threat

Johnson admitted making more than £30,000 from illegal loans.

However, he denied further charges of blackmail.

The court heard one person borrowed £500 and was given only a few days to pay back £1,500, with Johnson telling him if he didn't pay he would "be a dead man".

He told another couple to hand over £50,000 or their house.

The East Midlands Illegal Money Lending Unit, which investigated Johnson after two victims came forward, said he was charging rates of up to 1,200% per year on the loans and issuing regular threats of violence.

A spokesman said the witnesses had now been relocated to other parts of the country for their own protection.

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Johnson admitted making 30,000 from illegal loans



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