Convicted accountant ordered to repay £275k to defrauded pension scheme

A convicted fraudster has been ordered to repay over a quarter of a million pounds defrauded from the Focusplay Retirement Benefit Scheme (FRBS).

Roger William Bessent, who acted as a trustee and administrator for FRBS, was ordered to pay a total of £274,733 by Judge Heather Lloyd at a confiscation hearing bought by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) at Preston Crown Court.

Of this, £233,317.90 is to be returned directly to the scheme as part of a compensation order, which accounts for the difference between the sum stolen (£292,000) and the amount he had previously repaid.

Bessent was previously sentenced to more than three years in jail in March 2019, after transferring cash from FRBS into businesses he part-owned and which were run by his family and a client.

He has been given three months to repay the amount in full, and will face an additional 30-month term if he fails to do so, whilst also remaining liable for the payment, with interest.

Bessent has also been ordered to hand over all cash currently in his bank accounts, £9,861, within seven days.

TPR director of enforcement, Erica Carroll, commented: “Bessent held a position of trust which he abused for his own gain – stealing money meant for hardworking scheme members’ retirements.

“Today’s result shows TPR is determined that criminals such as Bessent are not only punished for their crimes but also do not benefit financially from their crimes.

“The money he stole will now be returned for the benefit of the scheme members he took it from. And, if he doesn’t pay up in three months, he faces extra jail time and will still have to return the money.”

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