A former financial adviser who pocketed company money has been jailed for six years for fraud by abuse of position and fraudulent trading.
Darren Say invented a pension scheme where he loaned money to investors for their self-invested pensions.
Those loans, together with tax relief, were invested with a property company that he was also the director of.
Rather than grow these funds for the benefit of his clients’ pensions, he pocketed the money and spent it on his lifestyle.
Chelmsford Crown Court heard that Say used money for his rent, shopping, credit card repayments and cash withdrawals.
At the height of the scheme, he was responsible for more than £1m in his company accounts.
By the time he was arrested in January 2016, all the money had gone.
This had the effect of rendering the company useless and unable to raise any other development finance.
The fraud was committed between January 2010 and January 2016.
The 45-year-old, who lived in Waltham Abbey, was arrested and charged with fraud by abuse of position and fraudulent trading.
He denied the charges but was convicted by a jury on 20 July following a trial that began at Chelmsford Crown Court on 12 June.
He was sentenced today (17 August), to six years for fraud by abuse of position and two years for fraudulent trading, to run concurrently.
Say was also disqualified from being a company director for eight years.
Detective Inspector Lee Morton, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Darren Say used the mechanism of the pension scheme he developed as his personal cash cow; taking money he was responsible for to fund his lifestyle.
“He has let down his clients, who were persuaded that his pension scheme would provide for them in retirement.
“Now they are faced with that time being lost and having to look for alternative arrangements to provide for them in later life.
“Company directors have great responsibility and should carry out their role with integrity and honesty.
“This case should enforce those responsibilities to other directors who might be tempted to act dishonestly.”
Essex Police will now seek to recoup the cash Say took under the Proceeds of Crime Act legislation.