A 45-year-old man has been sentenced at Belfast Crown Court for offences as a result of an investigation by the Paramilitary Crime Task Force, into illegal moneylending in the Larne area.

Steven Spence from the Larne area was convicted of carrying on a regulated activity in breach of general prohibition and acquiring criminal property.

The offences were carried out between the period of February 2018 and February 2019.

Commenting, Detective Inspector Corrigan from the Paramilitary Crime Task Force said: “On Monday, 11th February 2019 police conducted searches at two properties in the Larne area linked to Mr Spence.

“In one of these properties two black ledgers were found and subsequently seized. These ledgers were examined and found to have hundreds of names recorded, with no further details.

“The examination estimated that the monies borrowed in one ledger totalled £241,484 and the second £25,800. 

“A number of additional financial checks were made by our partner agencies and Mr Spence’s bank account transactions were also thoroughly examined for financial fraud.

“Mr Spence was subsequently handed down a 20-month custodial sentence on Thursday, 7th March that was suspended for two years.

“Lending money illegally is a very serious offence and we, along with partner organisations, remain committed to disrupting the activities of those involved with illegal activity, including financial fraud.

“I would encourage anyone with information that could assist in our ongoing efforts to contact us on the non-emergency number 101, or submit a report online using our non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/

You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/