The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) began proceedings to confiscate Gopee’s criminal proceeds to return to victims, after he was jailed for three and half years for illegal money lending in February 2018.
Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “Mr Gopee preyed on vulnerable people for his own gains.
“We have been in contact with victims already but we know there are more out there. We ask anyone who borrowed from Mr Gopee to come forward so we can quantify relevant amounts and present the evidence to the court.”
Gopee ran a money lending business from August 2012 to December 2016 without a consumer credit licence or authorisation from the regulator.
Describing himself as a ‘lender of last resort’, Gopee drew up 147 credit agreements for borrowers for up to £1m and took in at least £2m in payments while he was in business. The money was secured against the borrower’s home.
The terms of the loan agreement were so complicated the prosecution alleged they were ‘simply a work of fiction’.
As well as handing Gopee a jail sentence he was also issued with the first ever Serious Crime Prevention Order from the FCA.
The order will begin on Gopee’s release from custody and last for five years. It includes conditions banning him from conducting any business in the credit sphere, limits the number of bank facilities he is permitted to operate, and requires him to make disclosures of those banking facilities to the FCA.
Breaching the terms of the order is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.
Victims who have not yet contacted the regulator need to be able to supply evidence that they lost money to Gopee. Those affected should email OpPontefractqueries@fca.org.uk or write to the FCA at Freepost RTZE–RHAL–URAJ, for the attention of UBD RECC024, Financial Conduct Authority, 12 Endeavour Square, London E20 1JN.
The regulator expects a Crown Court hearing about the compensation claims to start on 9 December.
Any individual who look out a loan with Mr Gopee, or any of his companies, and who has not yet contacted the FCA, should do so by 15 November.