Shark-infested financial waters

Okay, last UK-related story for a while, I promise. But it’s not like I’m ending this string with a whimper, or even a garden variety bang. No, don the earplugs, kids, because this story is more like a sonic boom.

The Daily Mail reports on a truly frightening case of predatory lending, more coloquially called loan sharking. The woman, Debra Wilson, paid £88,000 (approx. US$132,000) over seven years on what was originally a £500 (approx. US$750) loan.

The loan shark, Robert Reynolds, wound up with a 51-week jail sentence suspended for two years (probation), when the prosecution reduced the original blackmail charge to harassment.

For reasons I won’t go into at this time, I often side with the defendant or at least try to see the case a little bit from the point of view of the accused. From what I’ve read in the article, however, I am not really sure how I can do that this time.

Reynolds damn near got away with what he did, at least from the standpoint of his sentence, and that’s a shame. The only real consolation here is that at least his monetary gains from the crime may be forfeited, so at least the victims may get something back.

I may have finally dissuaded someone from moving to or staying in the UK. That wasn’t my original goal, of course, it just sort of happened that way. Such is life, I guess.