With cybercrime on the increase as a risk area, instances of pension fraud have been increasing rapidly as schemes, and their administrators are targeted by hackers to facilitate identity theft and divert pension payments. The Pension Freedoms Regulations in April 2015, where individuals have been given the option to cash in existing pensions, has also sparked an increase in pension scams. Opportunists have taken to setting up schemes to take advantage of the changes by encouraging people to release cash from their pensions and invest into questionable investments with the false promise of large returns.
Our solicitors are highly experienced in defending those facing allegations of involvement in such schemes. Often entirely legitimate schemes can come under investigation. Effective representation at an early stage can lead to better management of the case and improve the chances of a positive outcome, including the possibility of avoiding court proceedings altogether. For instance, the prosecuting authority may have misinterpreted the evidence or exceeded their authority by failing to follow strict procedural rules. We can provide proactive guidance and strong representation whatever your situation, seeing you and your business through what can be a trying and stressful time.
Pension Liberation Schemes
A pension liberation scheme is a way for individuals to release their pensions before they reach age fifty-five and convert it wholly or partially into cash. This is done by transferring an individual’s pension fund to a scheme which allows early access to savings and then providing a cash advance, sometimes in the form of a loan against their pension. Pension investors cannot take their pension without huge penalties until the age of 55, and this is normally only a consideration for the terminally ill. Pension liberation as an option is legal but is not a practical solution in most situations. Individuals and companies who are inappropriately operating such schemes will impose large fees, leaving individuals significantly out of pocket.
One-off Investment Schemes
Relatively low interest rates and returns for both savers and investors have encouraged this type of fraud scheme, as many people have been seeing poor returns from their pension investments due to factors such as the global financial crisis contributing to poor growth for many pensions. In this type of scheme, individuals are encouraged to transfer your pension pot into a better investment with higher returns which are often ‘guaranteed’. These investments are often based overseas and not regulated in any way. Often entire pension investments are lost because the investment vehicle does not actually exist.
High-Risk Investment Schemes
A high-risk investment scam is where individuals are presented with unusual business opportunities promising very high returns. They are encouraged to cash in their pensions and put the funds into these investments. Often the investments don’t exist at all, and the money is never seen again.
Pension Review Schemes
Pension review schemes occur where an individual is encouraged to take a free pension review, then persuaded to move their investment into a high-risk scheme, promising high returns. Usually, the schemes are not authorised or regulated by the FCA, and often the investment does not exist all, and the individual loses their investment.
The prevalence of the conduct described can result in legitimate service providers being drawn into criminal investigations. In such circumstances, advice and assistance from a suitably experienced solicitor are a necessity.
Our solicitors at Stephen Lickrish & Associates are well-versed in the investigation and prosecution of fraud allegations, and we benefit from having collected experience of one of the largest teams of lawyers practising in the field of criminal defence nationally.
As a team, we regularly have successfully defended clients in a wide variety of financial crime cases, including:
Pension Fraud Defence Solicitors Manchester, London, Birmingham, England & Wales
When facing investigation or prosecution for fraud, it’s vital to have the support of highly skilled and specialist defence lawyers who will protect your rights and interests. Here, at Stephen Lickrish & Associates, we work discretely and proactively to provide our clients with the best possible defence and representation when facing serious fraud investigation and prosecution.
Stephen Lickrish & Associates’ expert solicitors have over fifty years’ combined experience and a high success rate defending clients in a wide variety of fraud cases. We are a Manchester based law firm, and serve clients across the whole of England and Wales. Contact us today by calling us at 0161 237 1913 or on 0800 988 64 22 for 24-hour legal advice. Alternatively, complete our online enquiry form, and a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly.