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Merchant Cash Advance ‘Enforcer’ Pleads Guilty to Loan Sharking

Sept. 7, 2022, 7:37 PM

A tattooed bodybuilder who collected debts for Par Funding, once among the nation’s largest merchant cash advance companies, pleaded guilty to loan sharking.

For about six years, Renato “Gino” Gioe, 55, traveled the country on behalf of Par, showing up unannounced at small businesses that fell behind on payments and making extortionate threats, US prosecutors said in a criminal information unsealed in Philadelphia on Tuesday. He offered “to stick a fork” in the head of one borrower, prosecutors said.

Gioe’s work at Par was the subject of a 2018 Bloomberg News article that described his visits to borrowers, including at ...