Doctor who ran loan shark business at two Harrow hospitals ordered to pay back £525,000
PUBLISHED: 11:54 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:54 20 March 2017
The consultant, who preyed on low-paid colleagues at Northwick Park and Central Middlesex Hospitals, must repay the sum within three months or face a default five-year prison term.
Dr Arjan Damjibhai Savani, 49, leant more than £1 million to predominantly Filipino workers in a ‘well-organised and profitable’ racket since 2011.
Harrow Crown Court heard he deliberately preyed on the workers knowing they could not afford the repayments and believed being in debt was ‘shameful’.
Police officers, working alongside the council’s Trading Standards Department and the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), searched Savani’s home in St Paul’s Avenue, Kenton, in December 2015.
Inside they found loan records showing he had recieved payments totalling more than £525,000 and had issued 270 loans ranging from £500 to £50,000 to more than 90 people dating back to January 2011.
During an interview with IMLT officers, the doctor admitted he knew he had acted illegally but held the view that obtaining a licence would have reduced the amount of interest he could charge.
The court also heard that Savani failed to declare any of the proceeds to HMRC, raking in more than £280,000 in interest.
He was handed a ten-month prison term, suspended for two years, last October and ordered to undertake 120 hours of unpaid work after admitting two counts of illegal money lending at an earlier hearing.
Savani must now repay £525,000 in proceeds of crime or face a default sentence of five years in prison following a hearing at the same court last Friday, March 17.
Cllr Tom Miller, Brent Council cabinet member for stronger communities, commented: “Loan sharks prey on the most vulnerable members of our community and in these hard financial times a lot of people feel they have no option except to fall into their grasp.
“But the days when these criminals could expect to get away with causing misery are over and Dr Savani is just the latest loan shark who has found that illegal money lending will be tackled head on in our area.
“We will not tolerate this kind of behaviour, and will continue to work with the National Illegal Money Lending Team and other agencies to crack down on this crime, making it impossible for loan sharks to prosper.
“We have been working closely with the community to build financial resilience for residents and to expand the number of affordable and sustainable credit choices.”
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 370 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 318 years’ worth of custodial sentences.
They have written off £71.9 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 26,500 people.
Tony Quigley, Head of Service for the National Illegal Money Lending Team said: “Another loan shark has been ordered to pay back for the crime that they once committed.
“We are continuing to crack down on illegal money lending and bringing those who break the law to justice. It’s important to remember that loan sharks are only motivated by greed and should never been used.
“If you or someone you know has been a victim of a loan shark, we urge you to get in touch with IMLT on 0300 555 2222. Your call will be handled confidentially by one of our trained officers.”