A VICIOUS loan shark who threatened to break a terrified woman’s legs and cracked a man over the head with a police baton has been taken off the streets.
Waiter turned illegal money lender Joaquim Lara Alves Boal charged vulnerable people “extortionate” interest rates and turned nasty when debtors struggled to keep up repayments.
The 52-year-old was jailed for 28 months at Teesside Crown Court yesterday after his two-year reign of terror was brought to an end.
The court heard how Boal had made 34 loans to customers in Hartlepool totalling £7,000 and he expected to see a return of £10,000 by charging borrowers 20 to 25 per cent interest per £100.
But when one woman who had borrowed £600 struggled to keep up repayments, Boal threatened to smash her windows.
“She continued to pay him through fear,” prosecuting barrister Simon Mortimer said.
And due to Boal’s inept record keeping the woman ended up paying back twice what she had borrowed.
When another woman, who borrowed £700 from Boal, asked to see records of what she had paid back, Boal was unable to produce them.
He later approached her at Hartlepool Marina and produced a metal extended police baton and wanted her mobile phone as security.
Boal started to walk away, but turned round and said: “If you don’t pay, this is what will happen,” before slamming the baton against the railings.
“The victim was hysterical and very frightened,” said Mr Mortimer.
A third victim told investigators how Boal tried to crack him over the head with the weapon in Morrisons supermarket. He missed but struck the victim on the elbow.
Earlier, Boal had gone round to his house and began ranting and raving about money he said he was owed.
When the man would not go to the door Boal broke the window with the baton.
After the attack in Morrisons, police searched Boal’s Lancaster Road home and seized a notebook detailing some of his loans.
A second notebook referred to by witnesses was not found so the true extent of Boal’s lending is unknown.
The business had about 20 customers and had been operating for around two years.
Boal, who was born in Angola and came to the UK in 1990, told police threatened to break one of the female victim’s legs “to show he was serious”.
He pleaded guilty to three counts of illegal money lending, one of money laundering, two of blackmail, actual bodily harm and criminal damage.
Jim Withyman, mitigating, said Boal, who had no previous convictions, had fallen into illegal money lending after loaning colleagues cash as a favour.
He said: “He completely overstepped the mark.”
Judge Simon Bourne-Arton said: “Anybody who borrows money from loan sharks in the street is a vulnerable individual and these were vulnerable because they had no other recourse other than to go to people like you.
“Twenty per cent interest is an extortionate rate.
“You embarked upon a course of conduct which was threatening, threatening violence, intimidatory and bullying.”