Three scammers who tricked more than 200 savers to switch £12 million of retirement cash to a pension liberation scam have been banned from running companies for a total of 34 years.
Kevin Kirkwood (39) and Gary Quillan (48), both of Liverpool, along with Gregory Garrett (49) of Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, received the disqualification orders in the High Court after they were found to have misled investors.
The trio ran two companies – G Loans and KJK Investments. Kirkwood was director of Liverpool-based KJK Investments, which was run by shadow director Quillan, while Quillan’s brother-in-law, Garrett was director of G Loans, based in Windermere.
The High Court was retirement pension savers seeking loans were offered up to half the value of their pension funds by G Loans, providing they transferred the money in their pensions to KJK Investments.
Savers borrowed their own cash
The investors were offered a 6% a year return with the intention that the fund growth would pay off the loan.
The court herd that over 30 months, KJK Investments received £11.9 million in investments from 209 savers, with half going to G Loans, with the money borrowed by the investors. In effect, they were borrowing their own money.
KJK Investments spent the remaining money on sales commissions of around £900,000, another £500,000 on salaries to directors and most of the rest on loans to other companies.
Because they broke tax law, the investors had to pay 55% of the money they borrowed to HM Revenue & Customs.
Directors misled investors
Sitting at Manchester High Court, District Judge Obodai found that the directors had misled investors and deliberately obscured the relationship between the companies, calling the scheme a “house of cards”.
Kirkwood was banned as a director for 10 years, while Quillan and Garrett each received 12-year disqualification orders.
Alex Deane, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “None of the directors expressed any real regret for deliberately misleading people who were mainly small pension investors, and who were targeted because they were unable to get credit and required cash.
“Pension liberation is being widely promoted as an easy way of gaining early access to pension savings. Any schemes offering such benefits should be viewed with caution and independent financial advice should always be sought before entering into such a scheme.”