Judge orders £350k payment from ex-charity chief who stole from pension fund

A fraudster who stole more than a quarter of a million pounds from a charity’s pension scheme has been ordered to pay back more than £350,000 within three months or face another three years behind bars.

Patrick McLarry, 72, from Bere Alston, Devon, defrauded the pension scheme of Yateley Industries for the Disabled, which supports vulnerable adults.

He spent the cash on a home and a warehouse in the south of France, a house in Hampshire, and repaid a debt he owed over the purchase of a pub lease in Portsmouth.

At the time of the fraud, McLarry was the chief executive and chair of the charity and a director of VerdePlanet, the corporate trustee of the charity’s pension scheme.

He was handed a five-year jail sentence at Winchester Crown Court in February.

The Pensions Regulator this month used the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to secure a confiscation order against McLarry.

A judge at Salisbury Crown Court ordered McLarry to pay £286,852 to the charity’s pension scheme to compensate members for the sums he stole, adjusted for inflation. He was also ordered to pay £71,477 to cover TPR’s legal costs.

McLarry has been told to pay the amounts in full within three months or serve an additional three-year prison term and still be liable for the money.

Erica Carroll, director of enforcement at TPR, said: “McLarry abused his position to steal money from the scheme’s members – money which was supposed to help pay for their retirement. Instead, he spent the money on himself.

“He received a lengthy jail sentence for his crime and, quite rightly, he must now return the money he stole to the pension scheme for the benefit of its members.

“TPR will not flinch from using every weapon in our arsenal to tackle pension fraudsters and will continue to protect savers’ retirements.”

Sam Peplow, chief executive at Yateley Industries for the Disabled, said the charity was very grateful to the Pensions Regulator for pursuing the case and providing justice for the fraudster’s victims.

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