Snapchat usurer used ‘cruel tactics’ to pocket £ 140,000 from victims
A greedy loan shark who used “cruel tactics” and threats against victims on social media has been jailed for 16 months, investigators said.
Over a 22-month period, Rovin Mavunga charged almost 100% interest rates on the loans and pocketed £ 140,000 in repayments.
The 24-year-old has targeted vulnerable people, threatening them with violence when they default on repayment, according to England’s Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT).
Sheffield Crown Court has heard that the Yorkshire loan shark was running an “organized, sophisticated and profitable illegal business”, Manchester Evening News reported.
Mavunga offered short-term, high-interest loans to 130 borrowers and increased repayments arbitrarily, adding stiff penalties for late and missed payments.
His victims included a single mother of two, who was assaulted on the streets over unpaid debt and forced to move to escape threats, and an extremely financially vulnerable man who took out 91 loans.
The woman learned about Mavunga’s business through her Snapchat ads and took out a number of small loans before she was unable to pay.
She was slapped twice in the face by a man who approached her on the street and asked her, “Where’s Lou’s money?”
The IMLT said Mavunga, of Union Street, Doncaster, sent a photo of a house and vehicle to another victim in an attempt to intimidate them, believing they belonged to the victim’s mother.
He then introduced the victim to a man called “Arnold”, who used Snapchat to threaten to burn down his house and increase the interest on his £ 1,000 loan until he owed £ 7,000.
A threatening text message sent by Mavunga to his victims read, “Sometimes it is best to avoid certain circumstances while you can. Because when I start to pick you up, it will be too late.
Another read: “You keep thinking it’s a game until I find you. “
One victim pleaded with the loan shark not to involve his family when he texted, “I’m going to talk to your mother now… And I’ll be back later… She has a nice car.”
Mavunga was arrested in January 2020 when IMLT officers, working in partnership with Doncaster Trading Standards and South Yorkshire Police, executed a warrant at his home and seized electronic devices.
The IMLT said it continued to operate illegally after the arrest, setting up a company called 24/7 Loans in February 2020.
He was then arrested again in March 2020.
Phone records showed Mavunga made a profit of £ 25,000 from a group of 35 borrowers and the outstanding loan balance at the time of his first arrest was £ 100,000.
Convicting Mavunga of illegal money lending offenses on Wednesday, Recorder Megan Rhys condemned his “appalling conduct taking advantage of personally and financially vulnerable people.”
The IMLT said the judge added that those who borrowed in Mavunga “were not borrowing large amounts for extravagant lifestyles but for basic needs” and were “understandably terrified” by threats made as their debts “increased beyond recognition”.
Tony Quigley, Director of IMLT, said: “Mavunga ran an organized, sophisticated and profitable illegal money lending business where he paid a social media influencer to advertise his services online in order to earn money. more customers.
“He deliberately attacked financially vulnerable people and used cruel tactics to enforce debts.
“This case demonstrates the misery caused by loan sharks and how clients of unregulated lenders are exposed to unscrupulous lending practices, such as threats, high interest rates and penalties.”
Mr Quigley urged anyone concerned about loan sharks to contact the IMLT’s 24-hour hotline on 0300 5552222 or the live chat between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays on stoploansharks.co.uk.