All Kevin Proctor, 62, hoped to do when he received a call from Susan Dalton, 66, from Brookdale in Rochdale, Lancashire, in 2014, was to make a little extra money so he could enjoy a peaceful retirement by the sea with his wife. He said Ms Dalton told him the scheme, from the fake company Regency Pensions, would offer him a safe investment with impressive returns, and Kevin would receive a £4,000 tax-free bonus if he joined the schemes.
Kevin said Ms Dalton used terminology and jargon to explain in detail what type of investments would be offered, the rate of interest, and how much Kevin could make over the period of his investment.
Kevin said: “She sounded so professional and I believed her. What she was telling me sounded good and, to be honest, I just saw pound signs in my eyes when she was talking.”
Ms Dalton sent Kevin multiple official-looking documents for him to sign which asked him to provide signatures to confirm the transfer. They also wanted him to provide a photo ID.
Before he sent the paperwork off, Kevin did have a moment of doubt.
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He said: “They asked me not to tell anyone about the £4,000 gratification payment. I did think that this was a bit dodgy and I asked them why. They told me that it was a special one-off payment that they made to their investors and they didn’t want others to know about it.”
Kevin disregarded his concern as he had booked a holiday with his wife and was excited about the extra money coming just before it. He then sent the documents and transferred £29,000 over to Regency Pension.
After a few weeks, Kevin received his £4,000 gratitude payment, which he didn’t realise was just his money at the time, and carried on with his life.
Fast forward one year, Kevin received a letter from the company which claimed his investment had made him £1,000 and he was excited about the money coming in.
After another year, Kevin didn’t receive another update and when he called the company the phone line was cut off. He then tried emailing Ms Dalton but she remained vague telling Kevin that “she would look into it”.
Another year went by and Kevin still had no further updates on his investment. He called again and the line was still cut off, and he then had no response from Ms Dalton.
Kevin was getting suspicious and this was when he called the Pensions Regulator. After explaining his story, this was when Kevin found out he had been scammed.
Having suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) since the 1980s and struggling with anxiety and depression previously, Kevin’s mental health began to spiral until he admitted himself to the hospital for help after he threatened to take his own life.
Kevin said: “I had a complete breakdown, I had no control of what I was thinking and it was scary. So I went to the hospital to speak to a psychiatrist and they told me that they section people who believe are a danger to themselves and with my state of mind at that moment, I was at risk of it.”
Kevin also suffered with problems heart which required medical procedures.
The worry that plagues Kevin’s mind now is his interest-only mortgage which was due to be paid off in 2026.
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He said: “Because I went on an interest-only mortgage, there is no equity in the property.
“I still have to pay another £60,000 worth of interest to pay on a secured loan, I’ve still got around £100,000 on the mortgage. After all that, we will have absolutely nothing and I worry about this daily and I have to block it out.”
The only thing that Kevin feels thankful for, is that his wife ignored his suggestion that she also place her pension savings into Regency Pension’s scheme.
He said: “She batted me away when I mentioned it because she had paid into her pension for a long time and wanted to keep it where it was. I couldn’t imagine the situation we would be in now if she had listened to me.”
Due to what has happened, Kevin does not expect a peaceful retirement anymore saying “I will keep working until my body can’t do so anymore.”
Kevin said: “I was looking forward to being 66, we were going to sell our house and move to the coast, we had all these plans for my retirement but that’s all gone now.”
“I’m lucky though, others who lost money in this scam lost much more than me, so if I can be thankful about anything, I am thankful about that.”
Ms Dalston and her partner Alan Barratt were jailed in April 2022 after pleading guilty to fraud by abuse of position arising from their roles as trustees of pension schemes.
The scammers, who were based in Spain, contacted hundreds of Britons and subsequently stole over £13million worth of pensions between 2012-14.
The Pensions Regulators recently published a report on the threat of pension scams.
It found that the current trends show that investment offences, the type that Kevin was involved in, were on the rise with pensioners being more commonly targeted through social media than through cold calls.
However, The Pensions Regulator stated that there were concerns that the cold call ban was being bypassed by initial contact from outside the UK and referrals then passed to UK-based advisers.
Nicola Parish, Executive Director of Frontline Regulation at TPR, said: “Pension scams ruin lives. Savers should always be careful when making any decision to transfer a pension pot that’s taken a lifetime to build and should contact MoneyHelper, part of the Money and Pensions Service, for impartial guidance first.”
A MAN was scammed out of £25,000 after he transferred money into a pensions investment scheme that was created by a fraudulent company.