Monday, February 24, 2020

Fraudster Treated Charity Pension As A Personal Piggy Bank

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Pension trustee Roger Bessent boosted his own finances by treating other people’s retirement savings as his personal piggy bank, a court heard.

Bessent siphoned nearly £300,000 from pensions he was running to fund his business and buy to let investments.

He covered his tracks with false records alleging other trustees had agreed the spending – but they never attended the meetings.

Bessent, 66, an accountant from Lancashire, has repaid £80,000 of his ill-gotten gains.

He admitted five fraud charges, two counts of making employer-related investments and acting one charge of acting as a company director when disqualified before Preston Crown Court.

The Pensions regulator, which brought the prosecution, will ask the court to let three other employer investment charges lie on the file.

Abused charity and pension scheme’s trust

Bessent returns to court for sentencing on March 29.

“He used the pension scheme as his personal piggy bank,transferring out hundreds of thousands of pounds for his own personal benefit and to keep other businesses going,” said  Nicola Parrish, TPR’s director of frontline regulation.

“As an accountant, Bessent was someone that people would turn to for advice and put their trust in. He abused that trust and used his position as trustee to defraud the scheme for his benefit and the benefit of his friends and family.

“Trustees play a vital role in protecting the benefits of members. We will not tolerate the abuse of such an important job.”

The court heard Bessent spent £120,000 on a buy to let home where his daughter and her partner live.

More money went to settle Bessent’s tax bills, subsidising a children’s nursery and as working capital for his son-in-law’s physiotherapy business.

Couple face £250,000 charity fraud and money laundering charges

In a separate case, Patrick McLarry is accused of taking £250,000 from a charity for the disabled’s pension scheme.

McLarry, 70, and his wife Sandra McLarry, 59, of Bere Alston, Devon, will appear at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court 19 March.

McLarry faces one charge of fraud and his wife faces four counts of money laundering.

The offences happened when the McLarries held senior posts for Yateley Industries for the Disabled in Hampshire.

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