Two convicted fraudsters have been ordered to hand over the majority of their assets after an investigation by The Pensions Regulator (TPR)
Under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), Alan Barratt, 64, of Essex and Susan Dalton, 68, of Rochdale were ordered to pay £9,771 and £25,010 respectively at Southwark Crown Court.
During the fraud, which was masterminded by David Austin, who took his own life before his trial started, Barratt and Dalton scammed 245 people out of £13m through fraudulent pension investment schemes.
They were based in a call centre in Spain and were given names of potential victims found by introducers through cold calls and internet enquiries offering free pension reviews. They then told the victims that their existing pension arrangement was not giving a healthy return and that transferring to a new scheme could increase their retirement savings.
However, the majority of victims’ savings were then routed through Austin’s companies, via offshore bank accounts, and then sent back to Austin.
Barratt and Dalton were jailed for a total of 10 years in April 2022 after admitting their part in the criminal enterprise.
Barratt received a custodial sentence of five years and seven months while Dalton was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison.
Following the POCA action, TPR investigators said that the amounts represented the majority of Barratt and Dalton’s remaining assets. If further assets are linked to the pair, TPR can ask the court to increase the amount payable under a confiscation order.
Nicola Parish, TPR’s executive director of frontline regulation, said: ‘We already put fraudsters Barratt and Dalton behind bars, now we are depriving them of the remainder of their ill-gotten gains.
‘Our thoughts continue to be with the pair’s victims, many of whom saw their lives devastated by Barratt and Dalton’s crimes.
‘Significantly the end of the POCA proceedings brings a claim on the Fraud Compensation Fund a step nearer.’
If Barratt or Dalton fail to pay, they risk a further jail term and will still be liable for the ordered sums, plus interest.
The money will be returned to the affected pension schemes, which are now being run by the independent trustee Dalriada Trustees Limited.