Loan sharking is a Class F felony in Wisconsin. Contact our criminal defense attorneys immediately for help.
Loan sharking is a Class F felony in Wisconsin. A Class F felony carries a maximum penalty of $25,000.00 in fines, 12.5 years in prison, or both. Loan sharking refers to offering loans at extremely high interest rates and with strict terms of collection upon failure to repay. In Wisconsin, we refer to this practice as “extortionate extension of credit.” Additionally, Wisconsin criminal law requires that violence, harm, or the threat of violence results upon failure to repay the loan. If violence or harm is not involved or threatened, loan sharking has not occurred.
The criminal defense lawyers at Van Severen Law Office, S.C. have a significant amount of experience defending both property and violent crimes. Whether you’re looking to fight your loan sharking charges through trial, or resolve the case with the best deal possible, we can help.
Finally, contact us immediately for a free consultation, where you’ll have the opportunity to spend an hour discussing your case with one of our attorneys. During that consultation we can discuss possible defenses, strategy, and figure out if we’re a good match for representation.
Section 943.28 of the Wisconsin Statutes – Loan Sharking
(a) To collect an extension of credit means to induce in any way any person to make repayment thereof.
(b) An extortionate extension of credit is any extension of credit with respect to which it is the understanding of the creditor and the debtor at the time it is made that delay in making repayment or failure to make repayment could result in the use of violence or other criminal means to cause harm to the person, reputation or property of any person.
(c) An extortionate means is any means which involves the use, or an express or implicit threat of use, of violence or other criminal means to cause harm to the person, reputation or property of any person.
(2) Whoever makes any extortionate extension of credit, or conspires to do so, if one or more of the parties to the conspiracy does an act to effect its object, is guilty of a Class F felony.
(3) Whoever advances money or property, whether as a gift, as a loan, as an investment, pursuant to a partnership or profit-sharing agreement, or otherwise, for the purpose of making extortionate extensions of credit, is guilty of a Class F felony.
(4) Whoever knowingly participates in any way in the use of any extortionate means to collect or attempt to collect any extension of credit, or to punish any person for the nonrepayment thereof, is guilty of a Class F felony.
What does the statute mean?
Subsection (2) discusses conspiracies involving loan sharking. In theory, this section could include both the individual offering the loan and the individual receiving it. The only thing required of the conspiracy is a step towards putting it into effect. While this section arguably could expose the “victim” to charges, whether a prosecutor pursues those charges is another question. Prosecuting victims who’ve already been harmed is a practice that’s easily frowned upon.
Subsection (3) focuses specifically on the individual advancing the money or property. Looking at loan sharking from a traditional perspective, governments have traditionally prosecuted this person.
Finally, subsection (4) focuses on individuals involved in collecting the debt. The enforcer of the debt doesn’t need to be the party originally providing it. Certainly it’s not the person receiving it. Instead, it’s an individual who collects the debt or inflicts harm on the receiver.
Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instruction 1472B
All criminal offenses in Wisconsin break down into separate parts, or elements. Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instruction 1472B provides the elements of loan sharking. Importantly, the government must prove each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
Firstly, the defendant advanced (money) (property) to another. “Advanced” as used here means the supplying or furnishing of money or property before something of equivalent value has been received.
Secondly, the defendant advanced (money) (property) for the purpose of making an extortionate extension of credit. An “extortionate extension of credit” is any extension of credit made with the understanding of the person making the loan and the person borrowing that delay in making repayment or failure to make repayment could result in the use of violence or other criminal means to cause harm to any person or to the reputation or property of any person.
How do criminal defense attorneys win loan sharking cases?
Importantly, one of the first steps in defending a criminal case is to determine the client’s goals. Is this case going to proceed to trial? If so, setting the case up for that objective is something that begins right away. We’ll likely begin by analyzing the jury instructions and figuring out which elements we’d like to attack at trial.
If they apply, pre-trial motions are another way to begin turning a case in the defendant’s favor. Criminal defense attorneys file and argue pre-trial motions for a variety of reasons. Challenging an illegally-obtained statement (sometimes based on your Miranda rights) is a common pre-trial motion. Others could involve challenging a search of your home, vehicle, or cell phone.
Finally, some clients are indeed guilty and are simply looking for the best possible plea deal. Our criminal defense attorneys are comfortable proceeding with this route and frequently negotiate deals on behalf of clients. Typically, preparing a case for trial (and not admitting that we’re looking to resolve the case) is a tactic that yields positive results for clients.
Contact our criminal defense attorneys immediately for help: (414) 270-0202
While this page is meant to provide a brief overview of the charges you’re facing, it’s not legal advice. And it’s certainly not enough to prepare a defense to the charges you’re facing. At Van Severen Law Office, S.C., our criminal defense attorneys offer free consultations to potential clients. During that consultation, you’ll be able to spend an hour going over questions with your potential attorney. At the end of that consultation, you’ll decide whether to retain our firm for your defense.
Contact us immediately at (414) 270-0202 for help.