Fraudster Simon Colfer thought he had got away with most of his crimes until police searched his home and found a hidden hoard of cash and valuable statuettes.
Colfer was due for release from jail after serving a sentence for fraud when detectives went to his home to seek documents and other evidence of his assets for confiscation.
During their search of his house, they uncovered a safe containing £91,000 in cash and valuable miniature caricatures of Welsh rugby players.
The haul prompted a new investigation which revealed another £450,000 fraud that Colfer, 51, of Llanelli, had carried out under the false name of Simon Davies and a company called Fortitude Trading.
At Swansea Crown Court, Colfer admitted conning around 800 retirement savers out of their pension cash.
Pension liberation scam
He was jailed for 12 months suspended for two years.
Colfer promised his victims a 25% cash lump sum if they transferred their pensions through his company.
The victims were paid their cash, but Colfer spent much of the rest on a lavish luxury lifestyle in Spain and gambling.
The swindled savers face financial ruin as HM Revenue & Customs has demanded all pay a tax penalty of 55% of the value of their pension fund transfer.
The investigation took detectives all over the UK – and overseas to the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Spain, Portugal, Belize, and the Caribbean.
A police spokesman said: “This case demonstrates the commitment and lengths that the police will go to ensure that justice is done for the public, and that crime will not pay. We will now proceed to recover all property acquired by criminality.
“This case also reinforces the adage, if it looks too good to be true, it usually is. Schemes with a promise of a cash sum for transferring a pension, such as the one set up by Colfer, break the pension rules and will incur the severe tax penalties described.
“These schemes should be avoided at all costs. Anyone looking to transfer a pension should seek the advice of a professional Independent financial advisor – the legitimacy and status of whom can be checked online by searching the financial services register.”