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Pattaya Daily News

02 November 2010 :: 15:11:43 pm 45236

UK Loan Shark Gets His Just Deserts

A Brit loan shark who extorted funds from his 800+ victims to enable him to buy a £1 million mansion, a villa in Malaga and several exotic cars, as well as numerous items of luxury jewellery and to take lots of foreign holidays with his ill-gotten gains, has been asset-stripped of £1 million by a UK court.
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November 2, British loan shark, Paul Nicholson, 40, former nightclub doorman and Falcon Securities boss from Cheshire was convicted in Warrington Crown Court, Nov1, of extorting over £2.7million from financially embarrassed clients. He was ordered to surrender £1 million in assets by the court.

Nicholson had earlier been jailed in March 2009 and given a consecutive jail term of 15(7+8) years for rape, 12 counts of blackmail, illegal money lending, lying about his criminal record, operating without a licence, acquiring criminal property and assaulting a considerable number of his over 800 impecunious victims, leaving a trail of tragedy and despair in his wake.

“Nicholson is one of most despicable illegal lenders the team have prosecuted. He resorted to horrendous methods to enforce his debts, leaving scores of people living each day in misery and fear,” Tony Quigley, Head of the North West Trading Standards Illegal Money Lending Team, told the BBC, from whom this news is adapted. While Jacqui Kennedy, of the government’s Stop Loan Sharks project, told the BBC: “Since 2004 we have come across some terrible stories of how loan sharks intimidate and bully people – but this is probably the worst case we have seen so far.”

The litany of misery Nicholson inflicted upon his poverty-ridden clients will ring a bell in Thailand, where loan sharks are an everyday fact of life, as any reader of the works of famous Thai writer Pira Sudham can attest. Sudham chronicled numerous cases of families being evicted from their ancestral land, swindled, blackmailed and often forced into prostitution to pay back the unscrupulous money lenders of Isaan.

Nicholson appears to have been cut from the same cloth as these Thai loan sharks. He apparently started a security firm, called Falcon Securities, that he used to bilk his clientele in Runcorn and Widnes of £2.7million, in tandem with his girlfriend ,Tracey Rogers, 38, also of Delamere in Cheshire, who was likewise imprisoned, receiving a four-year sentence, after being convicted of blackmail and acquiring criminal property.

Nicholson charged 125% interest on his loans and if his victims were unable to pay, he would go to their houses and intimidate them with knuckle dusters and baseball bats. So afraid was one of his victims, 22-year-old Brian Shields, that he committed suicide after a loan of £300 spiralled to £3,000 over three months. Some female clients were obliged to render sexual services, including oral sex ,if they failed to pay, others were forced into prostitution, while one woman nearly had her home fire-bombed, Nicholson telling her “Your priority is to pay me, not feed your kids.”

While terrorising his numerous clients, Nicholson and his female partner in crime, Tracey, were living the ‘Life of Reilly’ in their £1million Cheshire mansion next to a golf course, taking foreign vacations, frequently to their villa on the Spanish Costa del Sol, buying exotic cars, including a Land Rover and a Porsche Carrera, costly jewellery and other expensive items. A moderate police estimate put his plunder in the range of £2.7million, though it is thought to be far more.

Det. Insp. Terry Tinsley, of Cheshire Police, told the BBC that if Nicholson “won the lottery” or “legitimately earned an income” the police would take him back through the courts to ensure the £2.7m was paid back in full.

“The current economic downturn may see more people consider approaching money lending firms,” Det. Insp. Giles Orton, also of Cheshire Police, told the BBC. “My advice would be to think very carefully as to where you place your trust, and if necessary, take advice from an authoritative source.” Sound advice that applies equally well to Thailand.

Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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