Susan Dalton, 66, and Alan Barratt, 62, have been jailed after conning 245 victims out of a total of £13.7 million between 2012 and 2014 – leaving one victim “devastated”
Two fraudsters were jailed today for a £14million pension scam which saw almost 250 people lose their life savings.
Southwark Crown Court heard how Susan Dalton, 66, and Alan Barratt, 62, conned 245 victims out of a total of £13.7 million between 2012 and 2014.
Both admitted one count of fraud by abuse of position, with Dalton jailed today for four years and eight months and Barratt five years and seven months.
The court was told the scam’s “mastermind” David Austin killed himself in 2019 after being invited for a police interview under caution.
Passing sentence on Friday at Southwark Crown Court, Judge Gregory Perrins said the pair caused ‘such misery to so many people’, with victims suffering mental health problems and some even attempting suicide.
He said: “Each account that I have read is a story of a life ruined by your actions and you should both be ashamed.”
The average amount each person lost was £55,000, with others losing many times that amount.
The duo were based in Spain and gave savers unrealistic returns, cash bonuses, and John Lewis vouchers before getting them to transfer their pensions from legitimate schemes to fraudulent ones.
A judge was told how the cash bonuses, which victims were led to believe were part of a commission payment from the new schemes, were actually taken from their savings.
The pair were said to have passed the majority of the money to Austin, who used it for his own personal gain, to fund his businesses, pay others involved in the operation and fund his lifestyle.
The court also heard how during the scam, Dalton was a trustee for four fraudulent occupational pension schemes and duped 103 victims out of a total of just over £5.9 million, taking around £126,000 for herself.
Furthermore, Barratt was a trustee for seven schemes and sucked in 139 victims and over £7.7 million of their savings, personally profiting around £343,000, the judge was told.
A civil trial brought by The Pensions Regulator against Austin, Barratt, Dalton and others, took place at the High Court in 2018, after which the trio were ordered to repay the millions.
The funds, much of which were transferred to offshore accounts, have never been recovered.
Kent firefighter, Glenn Perkins, who transferred £146,000 to the scammers in 2013, told the court how he felt “worthless and useless” and now struggles with mental health problems as a result of falling victim to the fraudsters.
One man has been left “devastated” by the scam with Mr Holloway, referred to only in court, said he handed over £300,000.
The judge heard that, despite being based in Spain, Dalton and Barratt “deceived” banks in Britain into believing they were in the UK in order to open accounts.
The court was also told how a solicitor had also been instructed to send disgruntled victims comfort letters and threaten legal action.