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.
Veterans are being honored across San Diego County during Memorial Day weekend and dozens of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were among those spending their Saturday placing American flags at burial sites at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
In the wake of the Gate Fire, which ignited May 20, the Bureau of Land Management has issued new restrictions for Southern California counties, including San Diego.
With thousands of San Diegans expected to celebrate the holiday weekend at the beach, lifeguards are on high alert and a have a few warnings for those headed to the water.
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, is scheduled to visit local Navy personnel in San Diego and Coronado next week, her office announced Saturday.
A 30-year-old Vista man was arrested for drunk driving and failure to yield Saturday morning after leading Carlsbad police on a high-speed pursuit that ended with the suspect crashing into a pole, according to authorities.
A man, possibly armed, and holed up inside a home in the Bay Park community for about four hours Saturday surrendered to police without incident.
Vacationing homeowners were hit by thieves in Mira Mesa, but thanks to a smartphone app, the crooks did not get away with it.
Signs warning people to stay out of the water are once again posted in Imperial Beach after a new spill from Mexico dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage into the Tijuana River - polluting the South Bay.
Two defense contractors were sentenced to prison Friday for conspiring to steal more than $3 million worth of medical equipment from Camp Pendleton that the military had planned to ship overseas to treat injured Marines.