Doncaster man left to work ‘all his life’ after falling victim to multimillion-pound pension scam

A Doncaster man has spoken out after becoming a victim of a multimillion-pound pension scam, which ended his dream of retiring in Spain.

Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 11:13 am

Alan Barratt, 62, of Althorne, Essex, and Susan Dalton, 66, of Rochdale, Lancashire, were on Friday (April 22) jailed for their roles in a £13.7 million scam in which 245 victims were defrauded.

One of the victims, former miner Stephen O’Reilly, 61 said his dream of spending his retirement in Spain and leaving money for his children were dashed after being sucked into the scam around 2013.

The father-of-four who now lives in Isle of Wight, and still works in a bookmaker to support himself, said he transferred a total sum of £114,000 to the scammers after being told he was getting a bad deal on his current pension by someone he thought was an independent Government pension adviser.

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Susan Dalton, 66, and Alan Barratt, 62, who helped con 245 victims out of a total of £13.7 million between 2012 and 2014, were sentenced to four years and eight months and five years and seven months respectively at Southwark Crown Court on Friday.

He said he had requested a review and was referred by the fake adviser to speak to Dalton on the phone, who persuaded him to hand over his savings.

It was not until he came to claim his pension that he found out it was a scam.

Mr O'Reilly was told he was due a lump sum and had ordered a car which he was left desperately trying to find the money for, having to borrow from his mother to pay for it.

He said: "If I could get my hands on them, you'd see. They've ruined my life.

"Now I'm just depressed all the time because I know I'm going to have to work the rest of my life because there's no money there.

"I was going to move to Spain but I can't now because I haven't got any money to move in the first place, and I would have to get a job and have enough money to fund myself while I'm finding a job. It's totally ruined my life."

Mr O'Reilly, who worked in the mines for 14 years, added: "I averaged probably 80 hours a week and I was putting a lot more money into my pension than anybody else that was there and now it's all gone."

The pair who helped con 245 victims out of a total of £13.7 million between 2012 and 2014, were sentenced to four years and eight months and five years and seven months respectively at Southwark Crown Court on Friday.

The scam's ‘mastermind’ David Austin killed himself in 2019 after being invited for a police interview under caution, the court was told.

Passing sentence, Judge Gregory Perrins said the duo caused ‘such misery to so many people’ with victims suffering mental health problems and some even attempting suicide.

The average amount each person lost was £55,000, but some lost many times more.

The court was told Dalton and Barratt, who were based in Spain, enticed savers with the promise of unrealistic returns, cash bonuses, and John Lewis vouchers before getting them to transfer their pensions from legitimate schemes to fraudulent ones.

The judge was told the cash bonuses, which victims were led to believe were part of a commission payment from the new schemes, were actually taken from their savings.