United Kingdom

Charity boss stripped of MBE after stealing £300,000 from charity pension fund to buy holiday home

A charity boss has been stripped of his MBE after swindling its pension scheme out of nearly £300,000 to pay for a lavish lifestyle including buying property abroad and a pub.

Patrick McLarry, 72, was jailed for five years in February last year after he admitted defrauding cash from Yateley Industries for the Disabled, a charity dedicated to supporting vulnerable adults and which he was CEO and chairman of.

He spent the money on a home and warehouse in the south of France, a house in Hartley Wintney, Hants, and to repay a debt he owed over the purchase of a lease for the old Mary Rose pub in Portsmouth, Hants.

Winchester Crown Court previously heard that McLarry pleaded guilty after gaining confirmation that four charges of money-laundering would be dropped against his 60-year-old wife, Sandra McLarry, who was secretary of the charity. 

Patrick McLarry, 72, has been stripped of his MBE after he admitted swindling a charity's pension scheme out of nearly £300,000 to pay for a lavish lifestyle including buying property abroad and a pub. Pictured: McLarry with wife Sandra who was secretary at the charity

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) secured a confiscation order against McLarry, of Bere Alston, Devon, and in September, Salisbury Crown Court ruled he must pay back £286,852 to the pension scheme, to compensate for what he stole plus inflation. 

Now McLarry's full from grace is complete as he was stripped of his MBE after the regulator gave evidence to the Honours Committee.

Nicola Parish, TPR's executive director of Frontline Regulation, said: 'It is a lesson to all would-be pension fraudsters.

'TPR is at the ready to use our powers to bring criminals like Patrick McLarry to justice and, where possible, return scheme members' stolen savings.

'TPR, working with colleagues from other regulators and law enforcement agencies, will pursue criminals who exploit others' hard-earned savings for their personal gain.

'Whistleblowers were pivotal to the success of this case. We remind trustees, advisers and scheme members who have suspicions or concerns about the way their workplace pension is being run that they can contact us via the whistleblowing form on our website.'

Winchester Crown Court heard he spent the money on a home and warehouse in the south of France, a house in Hartley Wintney, Hants, and to repay a debt he owed over the purchase of a pub lease. He was jailed for five years

Speaking in September, Erica Carroll, TPR's director of enforcement said: 'McLarry abused his position to steal money from the scheme's members, money which was supposed to help pay for their retirement. Instead, he spent the money on himself.

'He received a lengthy jail sentence for his crime and quite rightly he must now return the money he stole back to the pension scheme for the benefit of its members.

'If he fails to hand over the cash, he will have to serve an extra three years in jail and still have to pay up.'

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