Pensions FraudMeet the team
Pension Fraud Solicitors
As soon as you learn that you are being investigated for – or even simply accused of – pension fraud, it’s important to seek legal advice and representation from specialist pension fraud solicitors.
This area of law is taken very seriously by the UK government and investigatory bodies such as the Financial Conduct Authority and the Serious Fraud Office, as are all forms of “white collar” and business crimes.
The fraud defence solicitors at DPP Law understand that individuals found guilty of offences of this kind may face serious repercussions.
Our team of experts has been providing advice, guidance and representation to clients accused of fraud involvement for over thirty years.
Read on to find out more about pension fraud and to learn how the legal specialists at DPP Law can help you.
What is pension fraud?
The offence of pension fraud refers to illegal activities whereby fraudsters and scammers may attempt to access money stored in an individual’s pension fund.
There are more types of pension schemes than ever before, and many people now have more opportunities to access and personalise their savings in a range of different ways. However, with this increased access comes more opportunities for crime.
Not only is deceitfully diverting money from another person’s savings account a criminal offence, but tricking individuals into withdrawing or moving funds from their current pension account may lead to them incurring significant charges and tax liabilities.
Victims of pension fraud often end up in significant financial trouble as a result of these misdemeanours, and recovering the funds can be a complicated and lengthy process.
As a result, the UK government has cracked hard on cases involving pension fraud, and investigations are now more common than ever before.
What are the types of pension fraud schemes?
There are several types of pension fraud for which you or your organisation may be investigated.
Some involve the perpetrators gaining access to the account details or funds stored in a personal pension and diverting those funds for their use, while others involve the criminals fraudulently convincing the victim to transfer their funds into risky and unregulated investments.
We explore a few of these schemes below. Later on, we will also explain the potential repercussions of being investigated and convicted of pension fraud.
One-off Investment Schemes
Phrases like “one-off investment opportunity” and “legal loophole” are often clear signs of fraud.
Criminals using techniques of this kind will pose as financial specialists, or even pension companies, offering a time-limited investment opportunity that promises high returns with no strings attached.
However, the individuals behind this supposed “great deal” will then intercept the cash to be used for this investment and disappear.
Savers are often told by financial advisers that if a pension-related “deal” sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Pension Liberation Schemes
This type of offence involves scammers convincing their victims to withdraw funds from their pension before they reach the age of retirement. Often, those scammers will then place those funds in high-risk offshore investments.
This may result in the victim losing all of their savings and even facing significant amounts of taxation.
High-Risk Investment Schemes
As mentioned above, many fraudsters will attempt to trick people into withdrawing the funds from their personal pensions in order to “reinvest it” – often being dishonest about the levels of risk and potential charges involved.
In reality, many of these fraudsters will move the money into unregulated, “high-risk” investments, often overseas, which may lead to the victim losing everything.
Pension Review Schemes
Savers are encouraged to regularly review their pension in order to ensure that it is performing as well as possible.
However, there are numerous fraudulent schemes of this kind in circulation that serve to enable criminals to access vital information about the victim’s funds or to persuade them to move their money elsewhere, to then be misappropriated.
Pensions Fraud: Frequently Asked Questions
Can my pension become void because of fraud?
Unfortunately, due to the nature of pension fraud, it ultimately results in a loss of the entire savings – sometimes people’s life savings – which cannot be retrieved. This highlights the importance of always remaining cautious if you suspect something out of the ordinary.
How to prevent pension fraud?
Preventing pension fraud is key to keeping your savings safe, as it gives you a sense of reassurance that you will retire and maintain an adequate standard of living.
Here are some top tips to prevent pension fraud:
- Before transferring any funds from your pension, you need to ensure the individual or company you are communicating with is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
- Do your online research thoroughly – check for reviews to see whether their brand reputation is trusted and respected. If you spot any complaints, then this should start to raise alarm bells.
- Dismiss/block any type of communication stating they are contacting you regarding your pension. There is now a ban on cold calling for pensions so you should never recieve calls regarding this matter.
- Many scammers are good at what they do, so they will use persuasive language to make you believe your current pension provider does not want you to withdraw your funds. However, pension providers have an obligation to carry out due diligence, so if they suspect any criminal activity concerning the individual/firm you are wishing to transfer to, they will raise warnings.
What are some signs of pension fraud?
Knowing the signs of pension fraud is essential to protect the savings that you have worked hard for.
Here are some signs of pension fraud:
- Offering access to your pension before the age of 55
- Contacting you to make a sudden or unexpected decision which leads to feelings of pressure and stress.
- Communicating via phone calls, text messages, or emails. As of 2019, a cold calling ban was implemented regarding pensions. So, unless you have requested a call, you should not receive any telephone contact in relation to a pension.
- Requests to send documents via a courier
- If it sounds too good to be true, then it more than likely is – for example, offering high returns, even though they state the risk involved is low.
What should I do if I’ve been accused of pension fraud?
Pension fraud is a serious crime, and investigations can involve police interviews and specialist teams of forensic accountants.
The maximum sentences for pension fraud include unlimited fines and up to ten years in prison.
The criminal defence specialists at DPP Law have extensive experience in cases involving pension fraud.
Our fraud lawyers have a superb track record of successfully defending clients accused of offences of this kind – so, if you are concerned about any potential or current investigations into your activities, do not hesitate to get in touch with us as a matter of urgency.
Once you have instructed our team, we will be able to help you gather evidence to support your case and prove your innocence, build a strong defence should you be taken to court, and accompany you to interviews and hearings to provide you with vital advice and guidance.
These actions and more will ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
Alongside this, our solicitors advise individuals on:
- Criminal Defence
- Sexual Offences
- Benefit Fraud Defence
- Serious Driving Offences
- Military Law
- Family Law
- Personal Injury
- Road Traffic Accidents
If you are facing allegations of pension fraud, contact DPP Law today. Our Emergency Arrest Line is active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year.