A former accountant has been ordered to pay £5,000 for providing false or misleading information to the Pensions Regulator over workplace pensions duties.
Paul Eugene Rewrie pleaded guilty to one charge of knowingly or recklessly providing false or misleading information to TPR at Brighton Magistrates’ Court yesterday (January 8).
Mr Rewrie, the sole director of accountancy company PR Finance And Development Ltd, admitted he falsely declared that staff at a Cambridge-based company had been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension scheme, when he knew that was not the case.
Providing false or misleading information to TPR is an offence under section 80 of the Pensions Act 2004, which carries an unlimited fine at a magistrates court and either an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison if the case is heard in a crown court.
In the third case brought against an accountant by the regulator, Mr Rewrie was fined £2,667 and ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge and £2,200 in costs.
In May 2018 he was removed from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants' register in relation to a separate case.
District Judge Teresa Szagun accepted that the defendant’s behaviour was similar in both cases, for example providing false and misleading information and failure to file documents, and decided that it needed to be taken into account for the purposes of sentencing in the TPR’s case.
Darren Ryder, director of automatic enrolment at TPR, said: “This case is another clear warning that we will not stand by while those who support employers flout the law and fail to ensure staff are getting the pension they deserve.
“Deliberate action to avoid pension duties risks a criminal investigation, fines and a criminal record.”
TPR has prosecuted accountants on two previous occasions for misleading the regulator over pension enrolment, in a relatively new approach of pursuing third parties working on behalf of an employer for the offence.
In November 2018 an accountant of a London cafe pled guilty to misleading TPR and was ordered to pay £6,860 and in February 2019 an accounts manager who tried to hide the fact his restaurants had not given their staff workplace pensions was ordered to pay £5,000.
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