Two men have been jailed following an elaborate pensions scam in Dorset.
Anthony Locke, 33 and of Haslemere Avenue in Christchurch, was found guilty of 23 counts of fraud by false representation and three counts of money laundering. Ray King, 54 and of Ashley Road in Poole, was found guilty of 14 counts of fraud by false representation. This followed a six-week trial at Southwark Crown Court in London.
Locke was sentenced to five years in prison and King handed a three-year jail term today, Friday 20 April 2018.
A timetable was set out for Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings in relation to the recovery of funds from the defendants.
The scam is known as ‘pension liberation’ and the offences occurred between September 2013 and April 2014.
Locke and his employee King misled 16 victims into transferring their pension pot into an arrangement that they were told would allow them to access half their funds before the age of 55.
The victims were also promised that the other half of the money would be re-invested.
However, such an arrangement before the age of 55 would usually attract an income tax liability of 55 per cent of the entire amount.
The total pension pot was £971,530.80, with around 50 per cent of this returned to the victims and the other half supposedly being re-invested.
Rather than re-investing the money, Locke used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle, spending the money on expensive cars, holidays and clothing. He spent over £230,000 buying two Audi cars, a Mercedes, Aston Martin, Porsche and a Lamborghini Gallardo.
Investigating Officer Paul Sullivan, of Dorset Police, said: “Locke was the architect of a callous and sophisticated fraud with King as his employee. Between September 2013 and April 2014 Locke obtained almost £1 million from various pension companies, which represented the ‘pension pots’ of the victims in this case.
“Locke then credited approximately half these funds to the victims who had joined his non-existent occupational pension scheme, telling them that the other half would be invested. However, there was no investment and by far the lion’s share of these funds was retained by Locke who spent the money on expensive cars and general living expenses.
“Not only have the victims lost half their pensions but now may face financial penalties from HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) who will want to recover the lost tax revenue.
“The sentences imposed today send out a clear message to fraudsters who perpetrate these types of offences.”