Fraudster made to repay £274,000 he stole from workplace pension scheme

29 October 2020

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has confirmed that William Bessent, a trustee and administrator for the Focusplay Retirement Benefit Scheme, has been ordered to pay back £274,733 that he stole from a workplace pension scheme.

He transferred £292,000 of savers’ money into businesses that were either struggling or new, that were run by himself, his family and a client.

On October 28 2020, a confiscation hearing was held at Preston Crown Court, where Judge Heather Lloyd instructed Mr. Bessent to repay £274,733 to the victims. £233,317 of this was to be returned to the Focusplay Retirement Benefit Scheme which equated to the difference between the amount stolen and amounts that had already been repaid.

The amount must be repaid within a three-month period, or Mr. Bessent, who is an accountant based in Lancashire, will face an additional 30-month jail sentence. He was also ordered to pay the full amount of cash held across his bank accounts, which equated to £9,861, within seven days.

In March 2019, Mr. Bessent was sentenced to more than three years in jail, as a result of action taken by TPR. He pleaded guilty to numerous counts of fraud, making employer-related investments and acting as a director whilst disqualified.

TPR’s Director of Enforcement, Erica Carroll, said:

“Bessent held a position of trust which he abused for his own gain – stealing money meant for hardworking scheme members’ retirements.

Today’s result shows TPR is determined that criminals such as Bessent are not only punished for their crimes but also do not benefit financially from their crimes. The money he stole will now be returned for the benefit of the scheme members he took it from.

And, if he doesn’t pay up in three months, he faces extra jail time and will still have to return the money.”


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