Pensions  

Pension fraudster forced to pay back £274k

Pension fraudster forced to pay back £274k

A convicted fraudster has been ordered to pay back £274,000 he had stolen from a workplace pension scheme.

According to The Pensions Regulator, Roger William Bessent was a trustee and administrator for the Focusplay Retirement Benefit Scheme, who transferred £292,000 of savers’ money into struggling and new businesses he part owned and which were run by himself, his family and a client.

At a confiscation hearing at Preston Crown Court yesterday (October 28), Judge Heather Lloyd ordered Mr Bessent, a Lancashire-based accountant, to pay back £274,733 to the victims.

Of this, £233,317 will be returned to the Focusplay Retirement Benefit Scheme, which accounts for the difference between the sum stolen and the amount he has previously repaid.

Mr Bessent must pay the amount within three months or will face an additional 30-month jail sentence.

He was also ordered to hand over all the cash currently in his bank accounts, £9,861, within seven days.

Mr Bessent was sentenced to more than three years in jail in March 2019, following action by TPR.

He had pleaded guilty to multiple counts of fraud, making prohibited employer–related investments and acting as a director while disqualified.

Erica Carroll, TPR’s director of enforcement, said: “Bessent held a position of trust which he abused for his own gain – stealing money meant for hardworking scheme members’ retirements.

“[This] result shows TPR is determined that criminals such as Bessent are not only punished for their crimes but also do not benefit financially from their crimes. The money he stole will now be returned for the benefit of the scheme members he took it from.

“And, if he doesn’t pay up in three months, he faces extra jail time and will still have to return the money.”

amy.austin@ft.com

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