A director of a Grantham taxi firm who ran an illegal money lending business was jailed for 12 months at Lincoln Crown Court last month.
Samuel Bromfield operated the unlicensed business for almost three years before being brought to justice.
Simon Mortimer, prosecuting, said that an investigation revealed that Bromfield loaned out £166,000 to a total of 105 customers between November 2011 and August 2014.
Mr Mortimer said: “It was a substantial business. The evidence demonstrated he was operating an oppressive regime of repayments and charges. The total amount loaned was just under £166,000. He received back in excess of £142,000. He gave out 943 loans to just over 100 individuals. The interest charged was usually 50 per cent of the capital advanced.”
Bromfield, who runs Discount Cabs, later told police he loaned money to family, friends and colleagues.
Mr Mortimer told the court: “He said it was personal between them and him. He said he didn’t charge interest.”
The court was told that Bromfield was not licensed as a money lender and knew he would not be granted a licence because of past County Court judgements against him.
According to the Grantham Journal, Bromfield, 60, from Nottinghamshire, ad-mitted two charges of operating as an unauthorised money lender.
Judge Michael Heath, passing sentence, told him: “You were operating for two years and nine months as an illegal money lender in quite a big way. It is plain that this was a profitable, unlawful activity. The only sentences I can justify are immediate custodial sentences.”
Edward Cole, in mitigation, said that Bromfield’s taxi firm would be put at risk if he received an immediate jail sentence.
Mr Cole said: “He was approached by people who wished to borrow money from him. Principally they were his employees. He thought he was helping people in need. Not every loan was advanced with interest.
“He doesn’t have a luxurious lifestyle. His primary motivation was to help people who came to him for help.”
After the hearing, Cath Williams of the England illegal money lending team, which brought the prosecution against Bromfield, said: “The authorisation regime exists to protect vulnerable people. This type of crime is massively under reported. Illegal money lenders can have a massive effect on people’s lives.”