An accountant convicted of defrauding a company pension scheme of £292,000 has been ordered to repay the money
Roger Bessent, from Lytham St Annes, was sentenced in March 2019 to more than three years in jail, following a prosecution by the Pensions Regulator (TPR).
He was found to have taken savers’ cash from the Focusplay Retirement Benefit Scheme (FRBS), for which he acted as a trustee and administrator, and transferred it into businesses he part-owned and which were run by his family and a client.
At a confiscation hearing at Preston Crown Court brought by TPR, the judge ordered Bessent to pay a total of £274,733.
Of this amount, £233,317 will be returned directly to the FRBS as part of a compensation order, which accounted for the difference between the sum stolen and the amount he has previously repaid.
Bessent will have to repay the amount in full within three months. If he fails to do so, he will serve an additional 30-month term, and would still be liable to pay back the money, with interest.
He was also ordered to hand over all the cash currently in his bank accounts, £9861, within seven days.
Erica Carroll, TPR’s director of enforcement, 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.’