Loans who partied in Vegas and took private jets as victims suffered


Desperate customers have been harassed with threatening messages and money has been stolen from their bank accounts without authorization.

But as payday loan shark CFO Lending ruthlessly pursued thousands of victims, the glamorous family behind the business enjoyed a golden lifestyle of exotic vacations abroad and private jet travel.

Founder Henry Smith, an East End real estate mogul, toured Italy and Switzerland in a Ferrari with his wife Faye as the company was investigated for questionable business practices .

Golden Lives: CFO Lending Founder Henry Smith with Daughters Shauna, Brogan and Keara, and Wife Faye

Social media posts show the couple arm in arm on sunny Mediterranean beaches and dressed in their finery at lavish parties.

Photos of their wedding show guests watching in wonder the fireworks fill the sky. A friend wrote that the event “looked wonderful” and asked, “Did you marry a millionaire?

Far from the glamor, complaints against CFO Lending – which Smith launched in 2008 – were starting to mount.

And after facing astonishing 246 investigations by the financial ombudsperson, the loan shark has been forced to reimburse more than £ 34million to nearly 100,000 victims of his unfair practices.

Henry Smith's daughters Brogan and Shauna Garrit-Smith

Henry Smith’s daughters Brogan and Shauna Garrit-Smith

The lender took money from clients’ accounts without authorization, charged them more than they owed and sent threatening letters and texts, the Financial Conduct Authority has found.

The company was ordered to write off debts of almost £ 32million and make cash payments of £ 2.9million to customers. The company was also banned from offering loans.

C FO Lending, which was based in an office in Leytonstone, east London, was the parent company of six other payday lenders: Payday First, Flexible First, Money Resolve, Paycfo, Payday Advance and Payday Credit.

Smith, 54, is still the largest shareholder but has never served on the board of directors.

Company records show that between July 2011 and September 2014, his three daughters – Brogan Garrit-Smith, 25, Keara Garrit-Smith, 24, and Shauna Garrit-Smith, 22 – were on the board of administration and held small stakes.

Smith’s wife, 45, was also a director and shareholder. The four women each held 500 shares of the company until May 2015, according to CFO Lending’s latest annual report.

Smith’s wife and daughters were all directors and investors in the company when she agreed with the regulator in August 2014 to conduct an independent investigation into its business practices. They all resigned a month later.

Social media posts around the time of the investigation showed Keara was dividing her time between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

High life: Glamorous family enjoyed a golden lifestyle of exotic vacations abroad and private jet travel

High life: Glamorous family enjoyed a golden lifestyle of exotic vacations abroad and private jet travel

A photo on Instagram from last December shows Keara, who works as an assistant at investment bank Goldman Sachs, about to board a private jet from the Harrods Aviation VIP terminal at Stansted Airport.

Her older sister Brogan has taken many trips abroad in recent years. She attended a ‘pool party’ in Hollywood, relaxed on the sunny beaches of Ibiza and regularly visited the popular resort town of Marbella in Spain.

When a friend of hers appeared to joke that she was away on many vacations, Brogan wrote on Facebook: “God loves a traveler.”

Pose: Brogan and Keara in a social media post

Pose: Brogan and Keara in a social media post

Earlier this year, she posted a post that read, “I love the simple things in life like spending my money recklessly and being a bummer for my family.”

More recently, the sisters’ social media accounts show them frequenting upscale London bars and hotels, including the Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone and the Savoy in The Strand.

Earlier this week, Brogan, who works for US investment bank Morgan Stanley, posted a photo of his dog sitting on the wing of a private jet with the message: “Someone is not impressed by ‘be back in London … Me and Rolo. “

Neither Smith nor any of his family appear to have worked directly for CFO Lending and none have been charged with wrongdoing.

A CFO Lending spokesperson said: “The current board of directors was appointed to CFO Lending Limited in January and February 2015. The current board has worked closely with the FCA to identify historical issues that have resulted in poor results for consumers. “

Smith claimed there was a “remarkable difference” in the business now compared to before January 2015.

He said: “As an investor, I am very happy to report that once the operational management of CFO Lending changed in January 2015, CFO’s behavior towards its clients has improved as well as its relationship. with the FCA. “

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