Glasgow loan shark 'charged 719,000% interest'

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Person counting money
Image caption,
Morrison faces action under proceeds of crime legislation

A Glasgow loan shark who charged people interest rates of more than 719,000% faces having his assets seized under proceeds of crime legislation.

Colin Morrison, 46, admitted illegally lending money at his home address and other areas of the city between January 2004 and January 2010.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard how his money demands left one vulnerable couple with £15 a week to live on.

Sentence on Morrison was deferred and he was released on bail.

The court heard how Morrison provided several illegal cash loans to Joseph Rankin and his partner Angela Clements - who suffers from the muscle wasting disease Myotonic Dystrophy - over a six-year period.

The couple struggled to pay the money back and were often left with just £15 a week to live on.

Mr Rankin, 40, and Ms Clements, 46, also borrowed from other loan sharks to pay Morrison back and eventually had to move away from Glasgow to escape.

The Scottish Illegal Money Lending Unit estimated that the compounded annual interest rate paid by the couple, if they had taken a year to repay the loan, was 719,214%.

The court heard that Morrison also started providing loans to 42-year-old Elizabeth Cassells around Christmas time 2007 and she continued to borrow from him over the next three years.

Georgina Close, a widow aged 50, also borrowed sums from Morrison but always repaid them the following week at 30% interest per week.

Money in wardrobe

Prosecutors said that the matter was eventually reported to the police and a warrant was granted to search Morrison's home, where officers found £7,230 stashed in his wardrobe.

The subsequent investigation established that he had not been employed or in receipt of benefits for a six-year period.

Sheriff Martin Jones told Morrison that he had pled guilty to a very serious charge.

"Those who prey on the poor, weak and vulnerable in this way will be severely treated by the courts," he said.

The sheriff deferred sentence until later this month for background reports and Morrison was released on bail.

The money lender will now also face action under the proceeds of crime act.

His partner Roseann Morrison was also charged with lending money illegally but her not guilty plea was also accepted by the Crown.

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