An accounts manager who lied to investigators about a restaurant chain's failure to enrol staff into workplace pensions has been ordered to pay £5,000 by The Pensions Regulator.
Bradford-based Mansoor Nasir submitted false declarations of workplace pension compliance to The Pensions Regulator (TPR) to claim that nine restaurants were giving their employees the correct benefits.
When the regulator investigated, it found that Nasir had failed to automatically enrol 103 staff into workplace pensions at the restaurants for which he was the payroll adviser in Birmingham, Manchester, Yorkshire and the North East.
He tried to cover this up using false declarations between September 2014 and May 2017, the watchdog found.
Nasir pleaded guilty to nine charges of knowingly or recklessly providing TPR with information which was false or misleading when he appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on January 9.
Sentencing Nasir at the same court yesterday (February 6), District Judge Teresa Szagun told the qualified accountant that his actions had been "deliberate".
She said: "This legislation is to plan for the financial security of a growing and ageing population. The mischief has an impact not only for those individuals involved but for society as a whole."
The judge ordered Nasir, who is based at Beaumont Management Services in Bradford, to pay a £3,320 fine, £1,560 in costs and a £120 victim surcharge.
According to Darren Ryder, TPR’s director of automatic enrolment, Nasir claimed he didn’t know what he needed to do to put the staff into their workplace pensions, but instead of asking the regulator for help he put his head in the sand.
He said: "There is guidance on our website and we also have people on hand to offer employers and advisers help on how to comply with their automatic enrolment duties.
"Nasir’s lies to us have now left him with an entirely avoidable bill and a criminal record."