An investigation by the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra) in the UK has led to the imprisonment of two fraudsters who ran a pension liberation scam.
Opra said that two men were sentenced to a total of five and a half years in prison at Oxford Crown Court for “offences relating to a pension liberation scam”.
Opra said Steven Russell, 61, and William James Ferguson, 56, ran a fraudulent pensions liberation operation for around three years. They targeted people under 50 who are not legally permitted to withdraw cash sums from their pension pots, Opra said. It said they removed more than £6m (E8.76m) from legitimate company pension schemes.
They used fake companies and provided false employment details for their clients, Opra said, which enabled them to transfer their clients’ funds into the bogus schemes.
“In July 1999, Opra used its powers under the 1995 Pensions Act to obtain search warrants and seize documents from the pension liberation schemes run by Russell and Ferguson,” Opra said.
“Opra is determined that pension liberation schemes such as these should not be allowed to flourish and that action will be taken to protect the pension rights of individuals who may otherwise be taken in by fraudsters,” it added.