Basil and Amanda Rankine were convicted of 14 offences in total after they raked in over £1 million in profits, as a result of claiming to be able to write off customers’ debts.
In reality, the Rankines had no authority to buy up debt, meaning that after paying up, customers were still hounded for payment by their original creditors.
Credit Card Killer, the firm set up by the Rankines, was an illegal operation, as the couple were slapped with a ban on running any kind of ‘debt sale’ firm two years ago.
However, this did not stop the pair from conning innocent debtors into handing over cash in good faith, with the promise that all outstanding balances would be written off.
The Rankines became familiar with the workings of the system after experiencing their own debt problems in 2008, when they managed to legitimately get tens of thousands of pounds of their own credit agreements wiped out, due to loopholes in the law.
However, the methods they used on customers were not as scrupulous and meant they collected millions of pounds in debts which they had no authority to do. The Illegal Money Lending Team launched an investigation, confiscating computers and other equipment, after they discovered the Rankines were still running a debt business.
Basil Rankine was jailed for four years for fraud and providing misleading information amongst other offences, whilst Amanda Rankine was handed a two year suspended sentence for her part in the scam.
The Office of Fair Trading deputy director for enforcement, Gordon Ramsay, warned that people should exercise extreme caution over individuals or firms claiming to be able to write off debts.