We applaud the Pensions Regulator on this landmark case. What is more it provides a number of key takeaway points important for employers, trustees and all those involved in M & A.
- It is a highly important decision, resulting in the defendants being jailed for a total of 10 years.
- But this decision goes far beyond the topic of pensions scams.
- Firstly it shows that the Pensions Regulator is prepared to act. This together with recent other cases shows that the Pensions Regulator is able to take forward multiple actions in the industry at any one time.
- Secondly it shows that Regulator is prepared to bring actions in both the civil and criminal courts. This is a vital point when one considers the new £1m fines that can apply to employers, trustees and advisers.
- Also it confirms the Regulator's important role to bring both civil and criminal actions that are not confined to the specific powers and offences under the Pensions Acts. This point is vital. So often when trustees and employers and advisers consider the possibility of pensions related enforcement they focus on the Pensions Acts - e.g. can this be a contribution notice of a financial support direction? However Barratt & Dalton shows that everyone must consider breaches of law more generally. For example, as in this case, has there been an abuse of position? Or for example has there been a breach of trust? a breach of Directors' duties? Misrepresentation? Fraud?
- When considering this wider context it is vital to see the Pensions Regulator's new powers as not freestanding but forming a part of a complex web of legal obligations in the civil and criminal context that have developed over hundreds of years.
Therefore the new notifiable events regime will bring into focus not only the related powers under the pensions legislation but also could put trustees and the Regulator on notice of matters such as breaches of the takeover code or conflicts of interests of advisers or Directors.
Therefore whenever there are developments relating to pensions:
- Employers and acquirers should think widely about their obligations and potential liability.
- Trustees should carry out reviews not confined to the powers within the pensions legislation.
We again applaud TPR and as Nicola Parish Executive Director of Frontline Regulations at TPR comments:
"This is a despicable case which highlights the devastating impact pension scammers have on their victims. Barratt and Dalton were part of a criminal enterprise that tricked hundreds of savers into transferring their hard-earned pension pots into scam schemes under their control. In their role as trustees, the pair enabled millions of pounds to be taken from the schemes and channelled offshore, where it was used to enrich others involved in the criminal enterprise and to profit themselves."
Fraudsters jailed for a total of 10 years for £13 million pension scam after Pensions Regulator prosecution A pair of fraudsters who were part of a criminal enterprise that tricked more than 200 savers into transferring their pension pots into fraudulent schemes they controlled have been jailed for a total of more than 10 years. Following a prosecution brought by The Pensions Regulator (TPR), Alan Barratt, 62, of Burnham Road, Althorne, Essex and Susan Dalton, 66, of Brookdale, Rochdale, Lancashire were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court today (Friday) after admitting charges of fraud by abuse of position arising from their roles as trustees of pension schemes. Barratt received a sentence of five years and seven months while Dalton was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison.