Former nurse turned loan shark told to pay £5m or go back to jail for another 11 years
A former nurse turned loan shark faces being sent back to jail for another 11 years unless he can stump up more than £5million.
Southwark Crown Court has issued the record confiscation order, worth £5.1million, against Dharam Gopee.
He was also ordered to pay almost £230,000 to victims, many of whom were vulnerable customers who he loaned money to at high interest rates.
Demand: Southwark Crown Court has issued the record confiscation order, worth £5.1million, against Dharam Gopee
Some victims had to sell their homes at rock bottom prices for failing to pay him back.
Gopee made more than £2million from the scam, and is understood to still own many of their properties.
The 65-year-old was jailed for three-and-a-half years for illegal money lending in February last year, but was released after serving half his sentence.
He now faces going back to jail for up to 11 years if he cannot raise £5.1million from selling assets.
He has also been banned from leaving the country until he pays.The confiscation is the biggest to be demanded of an individual prosecuted by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Gopee was convicted in the first case of its kind brought by the City watchdog.
Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: ‘Gopee’s offending has caused substantial harm to vulnerable consumers.
He has defied court orders in continuing to offend in one of the worst cases of contempt of court seen by the FCA.
‘This order seeks to deprive him of all his ill-gotten gains and to compensate victims. He runs the risk of a very significant additional jail term if he fails to comply.’
Gopee from Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex took over 200 victims to court when they could not repay loans and took possession of 100 homes.
Sentencing him last year, Judge Martin Beddoe said: ‘You are obsessive and have an obsession only with making money at the expense of others. All of this is sadly far removed from your former life as a nurse.’