Money lender targeting 'most vulnerable' fined $76,000
A money lender who once brandished a meat cleaver in front of a borrower and used unscrupulous business practices to target society's "most vulnerable" has been fined $76,000.
South Auckland lender Twenty Fifty Club Limited and its sole director Gavin Marsich were also both banned from carrying out any further lending.
It convicted the company and Marsich of 16 charges each, brought by the Commerce Commission, including charging unreasonable fees, failing to disclose loan information and falsely claiming to be a registered financial services provider.
"Anyone who seeks to gain from the poor and most vulnerable of our society without regard for the laws that protect them cannot expect leniency," Judge Jonathan Moses said during sentencing in the Manukau District Court.
Commissioner Anna Rawlings said Twenty Fifty Club targeted customers who urgently needed money and then failed to tell them about their cancellation rights or the consequences of not meeting their payments.
This included Twenty Fifty Club's practice of not charging interest but instead charging a fee of 50 percent of the total loan as a "marketing fee".
The fee and the loan amount were due on the borrower's next pay day or within seven days.
If the borrower did not pay, Twenty Fifty would rollover the loan and charge another fee of 50 percent of the outstanding balance.
These fees affected at least 82 people holding 234 loans.
In August 2015, Marsich was found guilty of possessing an offensive weapon after he showed a potential borrower a meat cleaver while describing the company's debt collection practices.