The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is prosecuting an accountant for transferring more than £200,000 of pension scheme funds into his personal bank account, and into the accounts of organisations he controls.
TPR is prosecuting Roger Bessent, 66, for abusing his position as the director of professional pension scheme trustee organisation Gleeson Bessent Trustees.
The regulator is accusing Bessent of committing pensions fraud by transferring approximately £200,000 worth of scheme funds from the Focusplay Retirement Benefits Scheme into his personal and organisational bank accounts. The employer that sponsored the Focusplay Retirement Benefits Scheme was Gleeson Bessent (Accountants and Business Advisers), where Bessent was a director.
Bessent faces five counts of fraud by abuse of position, and an additional five counts of making employer-related investments.
Fraud by abuse of position is an offence under section 1(2)(c) of the Fraud Act 2006; this carries a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. Making a prohibited employer-related investment is also considered an offence under section 40(5) of the Pensions Act 1995. This has a maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment.
Bessent has been summoned to appear at Preston Magistrates’ Court on 30 January 2019.
This is the first time TPR has prosecuted for these offences.