Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA appeals to victims of illegal money lender

FCA appeals to victims of illegal money lender

The Financial Conduct Authority is appealing to victims of a doorstep money lender sentenced to three and a half years in prison last year.

In February 2018 Dharam Prakash Gopee was found guilty of acting as an illegal money lender in a case brought to court by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Between August 2012 and December 2016, Gopee entered into 147 new credit agreements with new vulnerable victims in difficult circumstances, for sums totalling over £1m.

He regularly registered charges over the homes of borrowers to allow him to take possession of a property if the borrower failed to pay the debt, despite neither having a consumer credit licence from the Office of Fair Trading nor any authorisation from the FCA, the regulator said.

In a statement issued today (October 31) the regulator said it had begun confiscation proceedings against Gopee to recover funds and compensate his victims, but warned it had not been able to contact all those affected. 

It urged anyone who took out a loan with Gopee, or any of his companies, to get in touch with the watchdog by November 15, 2019, with sufficient evidence of their loss. 

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: "Mr Gopee preyed on vulnerable people for his own gains. He has now been jailed and now we want to confiscate his criminal proceeds to compensate his victims.

"We have been in contact with victims already but we know there are more out there.

"We ask anyone who borrowed from Mr Gopee to come forward so we can quantify relevant amounts and present the evidence to the court."

The regulator warned the confiscation proceedings against Gopee were "complex" and would "take some time" to resolve. 

The FCA said: "As matters currently stand, it is likely that the issues raised during these proceedings will need to be resolved by the Crown Court during a contested hearing, due to start on 9 December 2019.

"After the hearing, the Crown Court will make a confiscation order.

"...It is for the Court to be satisfied that individuals are eligible for compensation but the evidence gathered by the FCA will assist the Court in making those decisions."

rachel.mortimer@ft.com

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