Pensions  

Con artists who fleeced pensioners to be sentenced in July

Con artists who fleeced pensioners to be sentenced in July
Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova via Pexels

Two convicted fraudsters who fleeced hundreds of vulnerable pension holders in a £20mn con will face sentence next month.

Rikki Nicholls, 56, and Mark Kelly, 51, persuaded 285 victims to move their pension plans to their company PCD Wealth and Pensions between September 2006 and April 2013.

Using others, known as introducers, Kelly and Nicholls convinced pension holders to move their plans from underperforming companies into a self-invested personal pension scheme.

The two non-approved persons went on to invest that money into risky investments without the pension holders’ consent, while charging them hidden fees and paying themselves hefty bonuses.

The fraudsters ploughed pension money into risky investments the policy holders knew nothing about, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Nicholls, of Worcestershire and Kelly of Cheshire denied but were convicted of conspiracy to defraud and transferring criminal property last month after a trial lasting more than five months.

They were due to be sentenced on Wednesday 29, but Kelly tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday.

Nicholls' barrister Nathaniel Rudolf QC tried to persuade Judge Adam Hiddleston not to postpone sentencing, adding: "There is every reason that we should sentence today. It is not essential that the two men are sentenced together."

He said Nicholls "needs, for his health, to know his fate."

But the judge said if the pair were sentenced separately, this could lead to unfairness or injustice.

Adjourning sentence until 15 July the judge added: "It is with considerable regret that I reach that conclusion. I appreciate the considerable distress caused."

Rudolf said the adjournment would come as a "very great disappointment" to Nicholls.