Trustee pleads guilty to defrauding disability charity pension scheme
A former head of charity has admitted to defrauding the charity’s pension scheme out of more than £250,000.
Patrick McLarry, 71, has pleaded guilty to fraud at the Salisbury Crown Court, after he was found to have taken funds from the pension scheme of Yateley Industries for the Disabled and used it to buy homes in France and Hampshire for himself and his wife, as well as paying off a personal debt.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR), which brought the prosecution, will now seek a confiscation order to force McLarry to hand back all of the money he took from the pension scheme.
At the time of committing the fraud, McLarry was both the chief executive and chairman of the charity and a director of VerdePlanet Limited, the corporate trustee of the charity’s pension scheme.
The TPR investigation revealed that prior to VerdePlanet being appointed as the trustee of the scheme, the corporate trustee took the unusual step of amending the scheme’s definitive deed, which meant the scheme was unable to pursue McLarry for the funds that he went on to take.
Between March 2012 and February 2013 he arranged for £256,127 to be transferred from the charity pension scheme into bank accounts he controlled.
McLarry then tried to cover his tracks by forging documents, lying to TPR investigators about who owned the properties involved and then refusing to hand over vital evidence.
Judge Andrew Barnett told McLarry: “It is a serious matter and the only outcome is a substantial prison sentence.”
Nicola Parish, TPR’s executive director of frontline regulation, said, “McLarry posed as a pillar of the community while he was secretly working to steal for himself the pension savings of dozens of disabled workers.
“This prosecution shows that we will do everything in our power to take action against those criminals who raid pension pots for their own gain.
“We will now work to recover the funds McLarry took.”
Sentencing will take place at Salisbury Crown Court on 13 December.