The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has obtained a High Court order to remove hundreds of HM Land Registry charges, notices and restrictions registered against consumer properties by an illegal money lender Dharam Prakash Gopee.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has successfully obtained an order from the High Court to remove around 625 charges, notices or restrictions registered in the name of an illegal money lender, Dharam Prakash Gopee, from former companies.
This claim is the latest in several legal proceedings brought by the FCA against Mr. Gopee over his illegal money-lending activities. Gopee was sentenced in 2018 to three and a half years in prison for breaches of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
Between 2012 and 2016, Mr. Gopee acted as an illegal lender despite the OFT’s denial of a consumer credit license or obtaining authorization from the FCA. He lent money to vulnerable consumers at high rates, securing the loans against their property, then sought to take possession if they didn’t pay.
Over the 4-year period, Gopee’s accounts showed that he had issued around £ 1million in new loans and received at least £ 2million in payments from consumers who did not know Gopee did. had no license.
During Mr. Gopee’s conviction on February 9, 2018, trial judge HHJ Beddoe noted that Mr. Gopee was aware of FCA’s serious concerns, but ignored them, deciding instead to “… deliberately flout the law” ignoring the fact that he had lost his consumer credit license, and struggling to enforce agreements he knew unenforceable but debtors did not. He continued to pressure debtors with demands for payment, threatening a lawsuit he knew could not be sustained.
In addition to this custodial sentence, Mr. Gopee received a Serious Crime Prevention Order (SCPO) in 2018, which was also the first time the FCA had sought such an order, underscoring the seriousness of Gopee’s conduct.
Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Surveillance at FCA, said Gopee Offenses “Unauthorized lending of money is a criminal offense and causes serious damage, often to vulnerable communities. Mr. Gopee’s offense caused substantial harm to a large number of vulnerable consumers ”.
Steward continued, commenting on the benefit the High Court order removing the charges from the HM land register would bring, “The order obtained today will ensure that Mr. Gopee relinquishes Mr. Gopee’s hold over the property belonging to his victims, removing the charges, notices and restrictions he obtained in the exercise of his illegal activities and which he continued to detain ”.
Charges, notices and restrictions are registered in the name of the following companies, formerly under the control of Mr. Gopee but currently in liquidation: Barons Finance Ltd, Euro Business Finance PLC, Ghana Commercial Investments Ltd, Reddy Corporation Ltd, Barons Finance 1 Ltd, Ghana Commercial Finance Ltd, Barons Bridging Finance 1 Ltd, Pangold Estate Ltd, Moneylink Finance Ltd, Speedy Bridging Finance Ltd, Agni Estates Ltd and Pangold Investments Ltd.