UK - A financial adviser faces jail for taking £325,000 from a miners' group personal pension scheme.
Colin Stanton, 58, was found guilty of four counts of “evasion of liability by deception” at Reading Crown Court. He will be sentenced on December 20 but the judge warned that a custodial sentence was likely.
Stanton was brought to trial after a £325,000 cheque he wrote to miners at Tower Colliery in Wales bounced. The money formed part of the £728,000 commission he received from Scottish Equitable in setting up the miners’ GPP.
Stanton had agreed to share the commission with the miners.
When the miners questioned Stanton about the bounced cheque he closed his office at Grosvenor Employee Benefits in Swindon, Wiltshire, and disappeared. The miners also claimed thatthey had been misled by Stanton into thinking that they could retire before age 65 without penalty on their pension.
The miners had set up their GPP after they purchased the mine from British Coal and started trading as a private company in 1995 employing 300 people.
Coal Industry Pension Scheme chief executive David Morgan said thatthe miners had not been eligible to join his scheme as their pit had gone private in advance of the mainstream privatisation of British Coal which involved the transfer of employees to a final salaryindustrywide scheme.
Morgan said: “Tower was free to set up its own pensionarrangements. It did so direct without help from my company.
“It is, of course, highly distressing to hear that miners may have been taken advantage of in this way.”
The miners are unable to appeal to the Pension Compensation Board for funds as it only pays out where a pension has been illegally taken and the sponsoring employer has ceased trading.
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