A bogus financial adviser who fraudulently manipulated his “clients’” pension funds to avoid paying tax of over ?1.9 million has been jailed at Hull Crown Court for three years.
Colin Pearson (47) used the proceeds of the fraud to maintain a lavish lifestyle, driving expensive cars and owning luxury homes both in the UK and Cyprus including a villa on an exclusive golf resort.
Bob Gaiger. from HM Revenue & Customs, said:
“Whilst Pearson was living a life most people could only dream of, he left the individuals he conned out of pocket and without the pension funds they expected.
“HMRC will not tolerate this type of blatant fraud and will investigate and prosecute those found to be involved in stealing from the public purse. If you have any information about tax fraud please contact our 24 hour hotline on 0800 50 5000”.
Colin Pearson, who previously worked for the Food Standards Agency and held a McDonalds franchise, claimed to be a financial adviser and persuaded his “clients” to release over ?3.4 million from their pension funds. Pearson completed UK pension transfer forms on behalf of his clients to falsely claim that the funds were going abroad to avoid paying tax due on the pension withdrawals.
He provided fake documentation to register two overseas pension schemes. He then submitted the fake documents using false names, addresses, references and signatures to ensure the pension funds were released without suspicion or delay, to bank accounts that he controlled. On occasions he even made telephone calls to the UK pension companies posing as the policy holder; during one telephone call he attempted to disguise his voice with a Cypriot accent to give the impression that he was calling from overseas.
To add further legitimacy to the scam, he used articles from the internet to create a PowerPoint presentation to explain and sell the scheme to unsuspecting UK clients. He then took a cut of the funds before passing the balance onto the pensioners. In total Pearson persuaded over thirty UK pension holders to make unauthorised transfers of £3.4 million to avoid paying tax of £1.9m
On sentencing Pearson, His Honour Judge Richardson QC, said:
“You are branded a criminal, your life is utterly destroyed, and you are totally dishonest in your deceitful actions.”
He went on to say that the investigating officers did a thorough job which made the case easier to understand.
HM Revenue & Customs investigators arrested Colin Pearson in September 2009, he pleaded guilty to cheating the public purse at an earlier court hearing.