Former trustee pleads not guilty in illegal pension investment case

Former trustee, David Boardman, has pleaded not guilty to six counts of making illegal investments in a prosecution brought by The Pensions Regulator (TPR).

A former trustee of the Worthington Employee Pension Top Up Scheme, Boardman denied making five prohibited loans from the scheme and one other prohibited investment at Preston Crown Court yesterday (22 November 2022).

Stephen Smith, a fellow former trustee of the scheme, had previously pleaded guilty to making five prohibited loans, although he pleaded not guilty to a sixth charge of making a prohibited investment.

A professional adviser to the scheme, Derek Thomas, has also been charged with four counts of assisting or encouraging prohibited loans, although he has not yet entered a plea.

The allegations relate to loans and an investment totalling £700,000, including three loans by the scheme to Stonewell Property Company Limited, which was the parent company of the sponsoring employer, Marcus Worthington and Company Ltd.

In addition to this, the scheme made an investment in a retail park where the land had been let on a long lease to companies connected and associated with Marcus Worthington and Company Ltd.

A trial date has now been fixed for 20 November 2023 at Preston Crown Court.

The case is the latest in a number of prosecutions brought by TPR, including a similar case in August when two pension trustees pleaded guilty to making illegal loans worth £236,000 from a company pension scheme, and the successful prosecution of two pension fraudsters earlier in the year.

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