Doncaster loan shark jailed for 16 months after threatening Snapchat scandal comes to light

A Doncaster man has been jailed after he used Snapchat to threaten the victims of his illegal loan shark operation.

By Laura Andrew
Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 3:16 pm

Rovin Mavunga, aged 24, of Union Street was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court on June 30.

He has been jailed for 16 months after it came to light that he was charging loans at almost 100 per cent interest and threatening victims if they missed repayments on social media.

Sentencing Mavuga, Miss Recorder M Rhys said: “he had used appalling conduct taking advantage of people who were personally and financially vulnerable.

He has been sent to jail for 16 months.

The judge stated that people who borrowed from Mavunga “did not borrow large amounts for extravagant lifestyles but for basic needs” and were “understandably terrified” by the threats made as their debts “escalated beyond all recognition.”

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Simon Mortimer, prosecuting, said: “Mavunga offered short-term, high-interest loans to 130 borrowers through Snapchat over a 22 month period in an ‘organised, sophisticated and profitable illegal business’.”

Mavunga pocketed £140,000 in repayment from his debtors.

He increased their repayments arbitrarily and added harsh penalty charges with threats of violence for late and missed payments.

Mavunga was arrested in January 2020 when officers from the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), working in partnership with Doncaster Trading Standards and South Yorkshire Police, executed a warrant at his home and seized electronic devices.

The outstanding loan balance at the time of the arrest was £100,000.

When arrested, Mavunga refused to provide the password to his phone - aware that there was incriminating evidence on the device.

The court was told Mavunga would ask for images of the borrower’s identification documents to be sent to him through the social media platform Snapchat and these would be saved to his phone.

On many occasions he also asked for photographs of the borrower’s front door and proof of income such as a wage slip or benefit letter.

Mavunga threatened one of his victims by sending photos of his mothers residence and claiming that he would burn his house down.

Other examples of threatening language Mavunga used in texts are: “I am outside your house now,” “You keep thinking it’s a game until I find you” and “The thing about Virgin phones is they are easy to track.”

Following his arrest, Mavunga continued to operate illegally despite strict bail conditions prohibiting him from doing so.

On February 11, 2020, a company called 24/7 Loans Limited was set up under Mavunga’s address and he was appointed as a director at incorporation.

Mavunga has intended to concern himself in the provision of loans, a regulated activity for which he was not authorised, following his first arrest.

He was subsequently re-arrested in March 2020 - a further phone was seized from him.

Mavunga lured his victims in through Snapchat adverts.

One victim, a single mother of two, was attacked in the street as a result of an unpaid debt and was forced to move from the area to escape threats.

She was slapped twice to the face by a man who said ‘Where’s Lou’s money.’

She managed to escape into a nearby shop and call 999.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.