Accountant pleads guilty to stealing £280,000 from pension scheme he administered
An accountant who acted as an administrator and a trustee to pension schemes has admitted to embezzling £280,000 from a pension fund he oversaw.
Roger William Bessent, 66, took the money from Focusplay Retirement Benefit Scheme by converting the transfers into loans and making official minutes listing other trustees as present at meetings they did not attend.
He used more than £120,000 to buy a house which his daughter and her partner then lived in.
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He also used money to pay tax bills for his accountancy business and the business of a client, to subsidise the running costs of a children’s nursery and as start-up investment capital for his son-in-law’s physiotherapy business.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) charged Bessent with making employer-related investments by way of prohibited loans and fraud by abuse of position.
He pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud and two counts of making employer-related investments at Preston Crown Court on 27 February.
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He will be sentenced on 29 March.
Nicola Parish, TPR’s executive director of frontline regulation, said: “Bessent used the pension scheme as his personal piggy bank, transferring out hundreds of thousands of pounds for his own personal benefit and to keep his other businesses going.
“As an accountant, Bessent was someone that people would turn to for advice and put their trust in. He abused that trust and used his position as trustee to defraud the scheme for his benefit and the benefit of his friends and family.
“Trustees play a vital role in protecting the benefits of members. We will not tolerate the abuse of such an important job.”