MORE PENSION MISERY: Tory reaction to pension scammers…punish the victims


Where there are no ethics and no compassion, there are no red faces. Just blue blood.

You always know where you stand with the Camerlot Conservatives: whenever there is malfeasance in financial services, the innocent citizen pays.

When The Slog first learned of pension liberation schemes, I said they were a dangerous temptation to both clients and criminals. So it has proved.

Tens of thousands of people across the UK and abroad – who were told by conmen using sophisticated tactics that they could access their British pensions tax-free thanks to a legal loophole – were left with zip after being scammed: the money disappeared, and the majority  lost their entire lifetime savings.

Did the Government who introduced the scheme (and failed to catch the scammers) bail the victims out? It did not. It was left to Angela Brooks of ACA Pension Life, to set up a rescue organisation for pension liberation scam victims.

Are the HMRC storm troopers at least waiving their right to what would have been tax paid on the liberated sums? They are not.

Quite the contrary. Ms Brooks says HMRC is about to deliver “a devastating hammer blow” to the innocent victims: they are to be issued (some already have been) assessment letters for the sums concerned….which, thanks to George Osborne’s tax rate of choice, will be 55% of the entire pot.

That’s the pot they don’t have, on account of it having been nicked by unregulated conmen.

Is the Goverment at least going to give every hardship case the chance to appeal fully? It is not. In fact, the usual tricks are in play: the HMRC is leaving it until the very last minute to issue the demands…. a deliberate tactic to give victims the least possible amount of time to get themselves defended – and thus give the taxman a much stronger chance of avoiding appeals.

This is about as sick as sick gets, I think. As usual, the Pensions Regulator (tPR) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) fail miserably to bite off gargoyle heads thanks to a lack of teeth. The Treasury and DWP index-linked pension fatties help fraudsters in the front door by registering pension schemes without doing due diligence.  The Camerlot Cops are too busy lunching Newscorp and charging 94 year old DJs with fictional sex practices to catch the crooks. And so the victims – having saved dutifully all their lives – get wiped out and sent a tax bill.

Ros Altman

The fragrant and bejewelled Pension Minister Baroness Ros Altmann (pictured above) seems to have a compass within which the direction space is in an ongoing dysfunctional condition. In July last year, she told the FT that “The criminals behind this illegal activity often lay a sophisticated trap complete with glossy brochures and professional websites that make them look highly credible. Their aim is to catch you off your guard so they can steal your hard-earned savings.”

Seems their aim is pretty good: £4.7m was lost to pension liberation fraud in May 2015 alone, a 235 per cent increase on the £1.4m of losses reported in April….the month when over-55s were given new freedom to spend their retirement pots as they wish.

But her aim so far has been to do nothing. An ‘action group’ was set up in August. But here we are in January 2016, and liberation scam victims have lost retirement funds worth a staggering £2bn.

What has Draper Osborne had to say thus far? Read this, it’s a cracker:

“The pension freedoms we’ve introduced have been widely welcomed, but we know that nearly 700,000 people who are eligible face some sort of early exit charge. The government isn’t prepared to stand by and see people either ripped off or blocked from accessing their own money by excessive charges.”

We just aren’t prepared too help those who lost the lot. And naturally, we do not see a 55% tax charge on “their own money” as a rip-off.

Ah, Dorian Graymoron and his depraved dingbats….their loveliness goes on and on. This little number can now be added to their delightful attempt to pauperise female State pensioners born in the 1950s. Having pulled off The Great Welch on that one, more evidence is now coming to light that they lied through their teeth about how the “long term publicity” was distributed to these women.

Many of the leaflets were not posted, but simply left in Job Centres….exactly where you’d expect to find lots of nearly-OAPs of course. Sources in the DWP admitted last week that a substantial minority of the 50,000 women involved had never been sent direct notifications.

Some Sloggers will remember that I was vilified on Twitter by the more devoted followers of Frances Coppola, after posting in support of the women’s pensioner group (WASPI), denied their money by the budgetary incontinence of Westminster politicians over the last sixty years. The following week, the House of Commons debated the issue and disagreed with Government heartlessness – by the small margin of 158-0.

Last December – having seen nothing emanate from Ros’s fantasy Rozzers, Angela Brooks again called on the government to set up an independent, specialist task force to tackle the “serious and growing problem” of liberation scams with a joined-up approach that would involve HMRC, the pension regulator and the Financial Conduct Authority. So far, this suggestion has been greeted by the sniffing of snouts: it has fallen on deaf ears; mouths in authority are tight lipped.

But tens of thousands of innocent people are destitute. Cue a comment from Dan Hannan to the effect that as regulation is so useless….um, let’s not have any at all.

My God, but this lot are a complete shower. What Britain needs is a proper, grown-up Opposition….and the sooner the better.

Last night at The Slog: future is shite, the future is an Orangutan

43 thoughts on “MORE PENSION MISERY: Tory reaction to pension scammers…punish the victims

  1. One should always remember Marlon Brando in Guys and Dolls and his great monologue ,

    On the day when I left home to make my way in the world, my daddy took me to one side. “Son,” my daddy says to me, “I am sorry I am not able to bankroll you to a very large start, but not having the necessary lettuce to get you rolling, instead I’m going to stake you to some very valuable advice. One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to show you a brand new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken. Then this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of this brand new deck of cards and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not accept this bet, because as sure as you stand there, you’re going to wind up with an ear full of cider.

    it was always a con the whole scheme, it’s aim was to boost tax receipts and provide the crooks in the city with access to your cash. In both cases job done.


  2. HMRC are no different from the scammers… everything that can be manipulated is being manipulated. Facebook agreed to pay a years tax of under £5,ooo. Google agreed after negotiation with HMRC to pay a derisory figure.. still what is to be expected when dealing with the criminal minds that run the whole shebang.


  3. “The criminals behind this illegal activity often lay a sophisticated trap complete with glossy brochures and professional websites that make them look highly credible. Their aim is to catch you off your guard so they can steal your hard-earned savings.”

    This is what they’ve done to 1950s women too, John. They did NOT inform us that we’d have to bear a FIVE YEAR pension increase in ONE step, until they sent us a letter saying our pension age had risen to 66! Now, we find out that they even went to the trouble of having glossy brochures made, but they put these into JOB CENTRES, NOT sending them out to we women, save for a very, very few.

    The DWP themselves confirmed to me over the phone last Friday 22nd January, that they had NEVER sent out ANY letters to ANYONE about the 1995 Pension Changes to women, only putting this out into the public arena via newspapers etc…At no time did they individually contact any woman to tell her that HER group of women would be getting a 12 or 18 month or FIVE YEAR rise in their pension age. Even in 2012 they stopped the letters concerning the 2011 changes, where yet ANOTHER year was loaded on to us, between April and November of that year, feeling the information was incorrect.

    I spoke to a member of the DWP staff yesterday, who told me that she had never been sent any brochure about pension changes. She was, like me, born in 1955. She also checked with her team leader who has worked for the DWP for a very long time, around same age..and she too knew NOTHING of these brochures either.

    Interestingly, of course, neither does Ros Altmann, for if SHE had had one (she’s 59, so she WOULD have done) she’d have told 1950s women AGES back that they’d been informed, when she used to support us, whilst working for SAGA.

    Now, she’s aligning herself with the very kind of sharks she used to warn people about, coming out with some nasty things about the very women she once fought for so strongly. She’s got them on her Twitter page, even retweeted one the other day, who said he’d not have his children working to 70 just so a group of women could have their pensions at 60!!

    That upset me SO deeply, because many of us are in total HELL at present, kicked into the gutter….

    This story is AS bad, worse in some ways, if they’re also being told they must pay the government too….

    GEEZ! WE so, SO need to build Bastille II and start filling it up immediately with these Cutthroats, Crooks and Conman (to use Show of Hands song title)

    These people are not human, they have the most basic element which MAKES us human, missing. Sadly, at present, they are ruling us all…and causing trauma and chaos in the process.

    Here, Ros Altmann on 1950s women, before she betrayed us in her now Traitorous, Treachorous Way, trying to make us out to be Selfish Bitches who don’t give a damn for anyone else.


  4. ‘but this lot are a complete shower’
    Unfortunately that doesn’t even come close, and as I have said before, they more they get away with this abysmal behaviour, the worse they behaviour becomes. They will in time go too far, because their arrogance and hubris grows daily, but I fear it is too late anyway.

    The one adage that always comes to mind, whenever I consider anything these days is: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
    This has served me well.


  5. JW”How “the long term publicity” was distributed to these women “. I am assuming that this was a typo and should have read
    ‘ distributed to three women’.


  6. Lizzie I cannot understand how all this is lawful. My suggestion is find yourself a good no win no fee lawyer( define oxymoron)
    and start a class action.


  7. Cameron and Osborne are in place precisely because they are clueless, and therefore putty in the hands of the unscrupulous out to make a killing. Cameron and Osborne are merely the PR face of whichever is the lucrative cause of the day. Don’t bother them with your concerns – they’re already on to their next debacle.


  8. “Lizzie I cannot understand how all this is lawful.” Maybe it’s because the law is skewed by the politicians we put in place to make it, maybe “Loop Holes are placed there for later use, or the well paid people who administer it? Think on…


  9. First there was the PPI fiasco, engineered by the Mafiosi like actions of the financial establishment. Let’s not forget their action were actually criminally fraudulent yet not one person has ever been prosecuted. The scandal was explained away as “miss-selling” by a few over enthusiastic individuals.

    Now we have PPI The Sequel “Let’s Take Their Pensions” is anyone surprised? The thieves in the finance industry couldn’t have planned this perfect scenario without the total compliance of our corrupt leaders.


  10. Yes Stevie, but one might be led to suspect, that there might be a little more security, at only a minor expense,
    in having “Friends” smoothing it on it’s way. Personally, I couldn’t comment on an allegation like that.


  11. @The Ghost

    Don’t we have a government to protect those amongst us that don’t have “half a pea for a brain” from rapacious thieves like the financial services industry?


  12. Stevie if you haven’t noticed the government believes in small/no government & has set out to destroy itself,leaving it for a few to grab the rule of inequality before the law to do there worst,but i agree with you governments should be there to protect everyone from everyone
    PS i thought you had enough peas for a family


  13. Stevie please also don’t think i apportion any blame on the victims,i would never blame gladiators for being fed to the lions


  14. The truth is the elite do not give a damn, as they know that there is not going to be any need for pensions, because the whole system is going to implode.

    They will of course be hiding like cowards in those nice underground bunkers paid for with citizens taxes, after engineering a full economic collapse as well as starting WW3, plus they will make sure that there are enough Jihadi’s in the West to start a race war.

    That should be enough to cover up the failed fiat ponzi scheme and take care of the ‘excessive’ population……


  15. Fools and money were lucky to hook up in the first place.
    Why is it the tax payers responsibility to protect fools, who wish to exploit loopholes that don’t exist, from their own greed?
    Why are you suggesting that general tax money is used to bailout these people?

    There exists criminal laws, many people fall foul of criminals every day, why is this case so special?

    I am fully aware that most of the criminals reside in parliament, and parliament is the biggest cesspool on this island, but why take from others to compensate idiots?


  16. The key question here is whether the scheme is one orchestrated between politicians and money launderers or not.

    There are numerous stories out there that London is the world’s shell company money laundering capital and this story would fit nicely into that scheme as a new variant of old tricks (the only trick being talked about is relieving some naive, decent innocent person of their life savings). There is an ex serviceman whose says that his wife lost her entire services pension pot due to scammers on AIM (basically, false prospectuses for dodgy foreign oil/gas, mining etc prospects) ‘raising finance through a listing’ and then using a series of shell companies to siphon off all the cash without ever making any revenues. That’s what made him turn to uncover the scammers. Seems that a lot of it is current or ex-intelligence/special forces bods teaming up with the odd politician/diplomat for ‘respectability cover’. And some of those fronts have also involved serious racketeering in the arms industry.

    I don’t think that releasing pension pots per se is evil. There are plenty of good things that could come of that: paying grandchildren’s school fees; deposit for children for first property; wanting to spend more on expensive overseas trips before the terminal arthritis sets in; etc etc.

    The assumption you make is that no-one can behave like an adult if a few people aren’t capable of doing so.

    The danger comes if CCHQ has actually been in cahoots with con artists on this one…….


  17. Glory days,rtj1211 they’re are many good reasons to allow people access to their pension pots,however their is also many reasons to put regulations in place to help people who may think it is a lottery win(when it is not)!but government is against regulation it is also against prosecuting fraudulent practises for what ever reason! ideology before responsibility


  18. If I leave the doors open to my business premises and I find in the morning my property has been stolen do I turn to the government to use a general taxation fund to compensate me, no I don’t.

    If I answer a Nigerian email telling me he I have a pidgeon stuck in my bank account and he needs some money to get rid of it do I turn to the government for compensation when I discover I have been a fool and the victim of fraud, no I don’t.

    This is nothing to do with the government, it is fraud of which there are existing criminal laws for the police and judicial system to use in pursuit of justice. If the money is found then it can be returned to the victims of fraud.

    I despise the government as much as everyone else, but in this instance I am not going to point the finger at them.


  19. @Glory Days
    Well aren’t you a loveable rogue trying to change the dialogue here!

    Only you are suggesting that general taxation to reimburse those people who have lost a lot of money. Everything else you say is a pathetic attempt for attention. Everybody knows you are far too intelligent to every be fooled by a smooth talking bastard. So tell me this, how much of your pension pot is being eaten into by the rapacious charges levied upon it by your good friends? How much corporation tax are you paying than Google (percentage estimate will suffice)?


  20. Glory days what a terrible but not unexpected analogy,most of these people are early to mid fifties have to work two three zerohour contracts to keep the head above water (since credit cards are a variable but actual amounts & interest can only be specific) lets say they haven’t paid off 20k of mortgage but that say£100 a month is growing because of other commitments that threaten them more urgently(yes i know it a priority debt) but where talking about something is a bridge to far!
    Suddenly the government announces that they can take money from a account they have been barred from touching & since their working two jobs,when the email come s calling in good faith they see a exit or a plan that will end or relieve the nightmare.however they’re beyond their remit & both cost & ego means that ,this easy to take action.only to find that those professionals are not professionals but criminals,So the government doesn’t like regulation,it wants people to take responsibility but citizen advise & many other free or accessible services are not able to be there to help,it a conmans paradise & you want to blame the poor victim,let him lose his house maybe kill himself whilst the one policeman is busy looking at a 1970 case of people who are died!
    You just want to pass the buck take no responsibility or understand the position of people ,you just want to exploit exploit & stick to a ideology of throw people to the lions & blame them for being in the wrong place at the wrong time!
    And you can’t understand why TRUST in those that undermine others rights to protect there privilege to rip of people with impunity is failing humanity,Britain became great because it measured the weight & composition of of it coinage,(Regulated/regulation)it could be trusted,Libertarianism,Anarchism fails this measure of trust at every level & that is why it is detrimental to humanity itself!


  21. well, i suppose i too will be dammed for speaking up, but although he states it a bit bluntly, glory days has a point – it is not the general taxpayer who is responsible to make this fraud right. i am not blaming the victim, but by the mid-fifties a person ought to have enough life-experience to be at least wary of such promises. moreover, the government ought to have loudly warned that scamming was a likely result of their freeing the monies up so as to have covered their ample behinds when it eventually occurred. i believe the police and other government agencies ought to go after these scammers with every tool at their disposal and send them to a nice damp cell and retrieve all the monies taken illegally even if it means taking the scammers pensions. the only thieves the taxpayers are responsible for are the ones they elected – and those bills are already breaking the middle-classes back.


  22. Shaman, who TF proposed that the general taxpayer making this fraud right apart from you and Glory Days?

    Fools and their money are easily parted BUT (and this is a big but), the government really should not be creating the correct environment for the fools to be fleeced. It doesn’t take a person with a huge intellect (Glory Days?) to foresee that the relaxing of financial regulations may lead to a sudden rush of theft from the very people who the regulations should protect.

    Now remind me who relaxed the regulations? They are as culpable as the scammers.


  23. GD@
    Would you kindly advise me of where I should put my little savings …safe from bail outs bail ins and the criminal act of printing additional money, not created by effort or new resources ?


  24. Stevie, the 4th paragraph in the article points out there was no bail-out, the implication is there should have been one, and that can only come from taxation. Reading comprehension is clearly not your strong point.

    Dofornow, I have no suggestion.

    Everybody else except shaman and Router Al, don’t worry, your safe spaces are being allocated as we speak.

    John, not sure the use of the words idiot and fools qualify under the definition of being undignified, if they do then 95% of your commentators are also undignified.


  25. Glory days John wasn’t talking to you but Me or Stevie,but the point is if proper regulations were in place,there would be no reason for the tax payer to pick up the bill & if your company was negligent in any way & it endangered or cost people a great deal,you would be worried about being sued,this is now a possibility because of government neglect & that is what is wrong,taxpayers should not have been placed in this position & only incompetency & reckless abandonment of duty could & has lead us to this position! & a ideology to cut cut cut is behind it!


  26. I get it now Glory Days, you are a proponent of the survival of the fittest school. The only people at fault here are the poor souls that have lost all of their money. No concept of cause and effect in your world, just victims and perpetrators.

    Can you please explain what you mean by “your safe spaces are being allocated as we speak”?


  27. Shamen a few years ago a 86 yr old man was fleeced out of his life savings by cowboy roofers,age has no bearing on being fleeced nor is intelligence,if Citizen Advise or other free advisor’s had been given by the pension funds for them to get sound advise or refuse to deal with uncredited companies it won’t have happened or costly,but even that small amount of guidance wasn’t given & these people are quite plausible have a few rules that kept me safe so far! because once my father was pressured at the door into buying a quite dear comb! on the first time of use all the teeth fell out,we laugh about it still but few are has wise as my father & for what ever reason,probably he bought it to get rid of them,people don’t always understand why sensible people can be fooled/hoodwinked, John himself as had a little of this recently himself,legal recourse should be available & is in this case,if they can find the culprits & judging how many bankers have been arrested,i won’t hold my breathe but what makes this worse is that it was all unavoidable.


  28. ghost – i also know of older people being scammed and i believe that catching and prosecuting the perpetrators of such fraud needs to be a priority (as well as making good the loss by retrieving and taking whatever the perpetrator has of any value). so, i know that older folks often experience a decline in their critical facilities and are especially vulnerable to fraud – and thus are a bit different from the mid to late 50ish and 60ish i was referring to. it is a significant difference i feel that you gloss over with your anecdotal response.


  29. I tend to agree with Mr/Ms Glory. If someone takes their pension pot and puts it into some speculative project which pays off big time then they do well. If instead they back a loser (whether or not it involves a scam) then get compensated from general taxation then you’ve set up yet another moral hazard – win or get your money back (from the taxpayer). The government should not be dissuading people from exercising due diligence and applying sensible money management principles such as diversifying so one bad investment won’t take out your whole pot. Indeed i increasingly think that the £75K compensation for bank acounts should be scrapped for the same reason – it would make all of us take much more interest in what our own bank gets up to and perhaps force them to lower their risk profile to assuage such concerns.


  30. Redshift no one is advocating tax payers bailing out these people,just that they’re made fully aware & they can check out investments to check if they are scams.& i bet you wonder why the world & humanity is in a mess


  31. We now live in a world where the elite and their “friends” operate quite safely and shamelessly beyond or above the law.

    I’m now in my late forties, in a job that 20 years ago many might have expected to retire from at 55. I’m looking at another 20 years at least, which is OK, but I have this awful feeling that the money I have been persuaded to diligently put into a pension scheme each month for the last 25 years so far will have been spirited/devalued away when I come to claim it.

    The entire monetary system seems like a huge Ponzi scheme. And yet collectively the majority allow a very small minority to leach off us, to bleed us white.


  32. spot on @ happygrecian.. don’t count on anything you give them to look after for you being returned. full stop. they and the scammers are from the same family.


  33. Stevie, you’re not getting anything other than the wrong end of the stick, you’ve taken one comment about a specific issue and extrapolated it to cover one unifying theory on Mr Glory Days.

    Safe spaces refer to the places where those people who cannot deal with a contrarian viewpoint go, it’s full of soft toys, calm music, pictures of puppies etc. I’m sure you’ll find lots of references to it on the net.


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