A loan shark from Motherwell has been ordered to hand over £45,000 after a Proceeds of Crime investigation into his finances.
Thomas Reid (67) ran an illegal money-lending operation from his home in Chestnut Grove. He was fined £750 at Hamilton Sheriff Court in October 2011.
After an assessment of his finances for the six years prior to his arrest, Reid was unable to account for almost £400,000.
His available assets at present total £45,000 and a confiscation order for that amount was made at the court this week.
The court heard that for 20 years until September 2005 Reid held a licence to give loans, but when he failed to renew it he continued to operate.
Over the next five years he raked in more than £74,000, charging interest of between 1,600 and 2,500 per cent. His own records - seized by police - showed customers owed him £105,000 when he was arrested.
Loans were said to range from a few hundred pounds to £20,000 and Reid was spotted by investigators going to doors to collect money.
After the confiscation order was granted Paul Bannister, trading standards manager with North Lanarkshire Council, said: “Illegal money-lending is a despicable crime which can have devastating consequences for victims who may be embarrassed that they have had to resort to this source of credit and live in fear of reprisals if they report the matter to authorities.
“This is a significant and very welcome judgment which will enable criminal gains to be taken from the perpetrators and ploughed back into the local community.”
Lindsey Miller, head of the Crown Office serious and organised crime division, said: “The money will be added to the £80 million already gathered from Proceeds of Crime and will be re-invested in the community through the CashBack for Communities programme.”
George Arbuckle, of the Scottish Illegal Money Lending Unit, urged victims of loansharks to come forward, adding: “These criminals are motivated by greed and by taking their assets we hit them where it hurts.”