Former charity chief stripped of MBE after being jailed for £300k fraud

Patrick McLarry was sentenced to five years in prison last year after admitting stealing from the pension fund of Yateley Industries for the Disabled

A former charity chief executive who stole more than £250,000 from its pension scheme has been stripped of his MBE. 

The Pensions Regulator revealed the move in a report detailing its investigation into Patrick McLarry, former head of Yateley Industries for the Disabled, which supports vulnerable adults. 

McLarry, 72 and of Bere Alston, Devon, was last year given a five-year prison sentence after he admitted stealing £256,127 from the charity’s pension scheme between March 2012 and February 2013. 

At the time of the fraud, McLarry was both chief executive and chair of the charity, as well as a director of VerdePlanet Ltd, the corporate trustee of the pension scheme.

An investigation by the Pensions Regulator found that the scheme’s definitive deed had been amended before VerdePlanet was appointed to prevent the scheme pursuing McLarry for the funds he later took.

McLarry used the money taken from the scheme to buy properties in France and Hampshire and pay off personal debts run up by the purchase of a pub lease in Portsmouth.

The regulator said McLarry then tried to hide evidence of his crime by forging documents, lying to investigators about who owned the properties, and refusing to hand evidence to the regulator.

In September, he was ordered to pay back the sums he had stolen plus interest, totalling £286,852 when adjusted for inflation. He was also told to pay £71,477 to cover the Pensions Regulator’s legal costs.

The report from the regulator, published last week, says that in addition to the prison sentence, he had been disqualified from being a company director for eight years and was last month stripped of his MBE after the regulator gave evidence to the Honours Committee. He had been given the honour in 1998. 

Nicola Parish, executive director of frontline regulation at the Pensions Regulator, said the report should be a “lesson to all would-be pension fraudsters”.

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