News Business Crime & Financial Services 15th Jun 2023

Daniel Chadwick and Lewis MacDonald’s clients acquitted of operating an illegal money lending business

After a 14-day trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court, both defendants were acquitted of all charges, contrary to the Consumer Credit Act 1974, the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Daniel Chadwick appeared for the first defendant and Lewis MacDonald for the second defendant.

The prosecution, brought by the Illegal Money Lending Team, suggested the defendants had operated a business providing loans over 6 years in the hundreds of thousands of pounds, relying on loan records and cash and cheque deposits in the defendants’ bank accounts of over half a million pounds. The defence suggested the loans were provided within a limited social group as part of a culture originating in the Philippines, did not constitute the operating of a business, and therefore fell outside the requirement to register with the Financial Conduct Authority in the relevant legislation.

The trial started with 5 days of legal argument at a preparatory hearing in 2021. Those legal arguments were appealed in two reported judgments of the Lord Chief Justice, ([2022] EWCA Crim 1113[1] , and [2023] EWCA Crim 6)[2], in which Daniel and Lewis appeared alongside Sallie Bennett-Jenkins KC for the two defendants.

The substantive trial took place this month.

The only prosecution witness who borrowed money from the defendants admitted to a number of lies in cross-examination. The defence also challenged the financial investigator’s analysis of interest paid on the loans. Both defendants gave evidence, admitting they provided a large number of loans but arguing that they did not do so in the course of a business.

The jury acquitted both defendants of all charges.

Daniel Chadwick and Lewis MacDonald (and Sallie Bennett-Jenkins KC in the Court of Appeal) were instructed by Kirsty Bishop, Head of Fraud & White Collar Crime, at Edward Fail Bradshaw & Waterson.

[1] See the previous article here.

[2] See the previous article here.

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