SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Poway woman pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor count of operating a loan sharking business and was immediately sentenced to probation and ordered to repay her victims nearly $24,000 in restitution.
Lirio Lee Ramos, 56, loaned money to co-workers at exorbitant interest rates that exceeded 480 percent per year, according to the San Diego City Attorney's Office.
According to a criminal complaint, the illegal activities happened between May 2009 and December 2010.
Prosecutors said they received a complaint that Ramos was trying to enforce debts that appeared to carry unlawfully high interest rates.
The city attorney's investigation revealed that Ramos loaned money to financially strapped co-workers, many of whom were dealing with personal emergencies, between May 2009 and December 2010, charging a minimum of 20-30 percent interest that she compounded every two weeks.
According to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, Californians may make personal loans to friends and family members, who in turn may use those loans for personal, family or household purposes, but only at an annual interest rate of 7-10 percent.
Businesses engaged in the lending business, like banks and credit card companies, are regulated in other ways and are not subject to the 10 percent interest-per-year cap, Goldsmith said.
The always-heated topic of whether to begin holiday shopping on Thanksgiving Day will be raised again Thursday, as many chain stores will open their doors around San Diego one day before the so-called "Black Friday."
Thanksgiving could see record-setting heat in San Diego County, according to forecasters, who also reported the smashing of temperature records across the county on Wednesday.
A charity run, meals for the needy, a long-running music festival and holiday shopping are on tap for Thursday's Thanksgiving Day in San Diego.
Your living room often becomes your work space if you work from home. If you have kids, the house can be even more chaotic. Well now, more women are able to take 10-15 steps out of their home and into their "she shed."
Around 60,000 passengers are expected to pass through San Diego's Lindbergh Field daily during the upcoming holiday weekend.
Thanksgiving meals were provided to the needy around San Diego County Wednesday, one day ahead of the holiday.
A pedestrian was killed Wednesday night in a hit-and-run crash in the Mountain View section of San Diego and police detained the driver, who fled the scene on foot after the vehicle struck a house.
U.S. and Japanese ships and aircraft were searching in the Philippine Sea on Thursday for three sailors missing since a U.S. Navy aircraft crashed a day earlier.