Boris Johnson for PM – sorting out pension scams?
Hey BJ – just a quick note to wish you luck in the PM contest. If you win, please make it your priority to sort out pension fraud.
Treating head lice – like fighting pension scammers – is a matter of the utmost urgency. Everyone knows that if you don’t kill the lice, they keep breeding and before you know it there’s a serious infestation. Same thing happens with pension scammers.
The problem is that for the past ten years, the British government – as well as HMRC, the Pensions Regulator, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office, the Insolvency Service, the Police, the FCA and Dalriada Trustees – have left pension scammers free to breed. Like head lice.
Just to remind you Boris, you have pension scam victims in your own constituency and you represent their rights. And every single person in the UK exists to do one thing: RETIRE. So, the pension scammers defraud these people (thousands of them) out of what they have worked hard for all their lives.
I know you’ve got a lot on your plate, but let me explain to you how pension scams work:
- HMRC registers the occupational pension schemes
- The Pensions Regulator registers the occupational pension schemes
- Ceding pension providers such as Standard Life, Scottish Widows and Aviva (as well as DB schemes such as the NHS, Teachers and the Police) hand over pensions to the scammers
- The FCA lets unregulated “advisers” carry out regulated “advice” without sanction
- HMRC and the Pensions Regulator allow scams to continue unhindered and fail to warn either the public or the industry
- The Pensions Regulator places schemes into the hands of Dalriada Trustees
- Nobody (except the victims) reports the scammers to the crime enforcement agencies
- The scammers are left free to scam over and over again
- HMRC taxes the victims and not the scammers
- The police won’t even prosecute the scammers who scam police officers
One appalling example is the Salmon Enterprises case. Two former Inland Revenue officers – Andrew Meeson and Peter Bradley – set up a pension trustee company called Tudor Capital Management and registered a bogus occupational pension scheme called Salmon Enterprises. HMRC and the Pensions Regulator accepted the registration without question.
In 2010, HMRC, the Pensions Regulator and the Crown Prosecution Service started to investigate Meeson and Bradley for tax fraud and money laundering offences. (After three years of “investigation”, Meeson and Bradley were jailed for eight years apiece).
But, neither HMRC nor the Pensions Regulator warned the public or the industry. While one hundred victims were scammed out of their pensions, HMRC continued to confirm to ceding providers that Salmon Enterprises was an HMRC-registered pension scheme. And the Pensions Regulator deliberately concealed the fact that the trustees were under criminal investigation for fraud.
So now HMRC stands to collect £millions in tax from the victims who have lost their pensions.
At the same time as HMRC and the Pensions Regulator were facilitating the Salmon Enterprises pension scam, they were also facilitating the Ark scam.
The main promoter of Ark was Stephen Ward of Premier Pension Solutions SL and Premier Pension Transfers Ltd. HMRC met with Stephen Ward in February 2011 – after six months of communicating with him and expressing concern about the reciprocal “loans” he was facilitating. But still neither HMRC nor the Pensions Regulator shut the Ark schemes down. And 486 people got scammed out of their pensions and are now fighting off tax demands by HMRC.
HMRC and the Pensions Regulator went on to register dozens more bogus occupational pension schemes by Stephen Ward. And so, after Ark, thousands more victims lost their pensions and got huge tax bills from HMRC. Many people reckon – understandably – that HMRC is even worse than the scammers.
- The Pensions Regulator appointed Dalriada as independent trustee to ARK. But Dalriada said it was “not within their remit” to report Stephen Ward and the rest of the scammers who promoted and ran ARK.
- The Pensions Regulator appointed Dalriada as independent trustee to CAPITA OAK. But Dalriada said it was “not within their remit” to report Stephen Ward and the rest of the scammers who promoted and ran CAPITA OAK.
- The Pensions Regulator appointed Dalriada as independent trustee to WESTMINSTER. But Dalriada said it was “not within their remit” to report Stephen Ward and the rest of the scammers who promoted and ran WESTMINSTER .
- And so it went on and on and on….and the head lice continued to breed. James Hadley entered the arena and after running the Capita Oak scam (300 victims who lost £10 million between them), he went on to run the Trafalgar Multi Asset Fund scam along with STM Fidecs – and another 400 victims lost over £20 million worth pension funds.
- Stephen Ward also went on unchallenged, and scammed more victims out of millions in the London Quantum pension scam. (Also in the hands of Dalriada Trustees).
So what next BJ? Are you going to make this a priority? You need to get all these scammers put where they belong – behind bars. You need decent regulation and law enforcement to put things right and stop this from happening again. You must make Britain a safe place for decent citizens to work hard and save for a pension without getting defrauded by scammers and losing the lot.
Most of all, you need a tax amnesty to stop HMRC from destroying the victims of fraud. If you don’t do this, you might as well bring in a law to prosecute victims of rape.
You also need to understand that pension fraud has moved on. Many of the scammers now use offshore pension schemes to get pensions out of the UK and into high-risk, toxic investments and insurance bonds that pay huge commissions and destroy the pension funds.
Billions of pounds’ worth of life savings have been lost. Millions of pounds’ worth of tax liabilities have been demanded by HMRC unjustly – from the very victims who are now at their wits’ end through losing their pensions. The honour of Britain as a safe, well-regulated jurisdiction is trashed. The reputation of British financial advisers is compromised. The industry is riddled with non-compliant and fraudulent practices in all British expat countries.