Accountant, 66, who stole £300,000 pension cash is jailed for 40 months 

A greedy chartered accountant who stole a pension fund of almost £300,000 to buy a house for his daughter and support her husband's business has been jailed for 40 months. 

Roger Bessent, 66, of Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, dipped into the £17.4m pot to splash out on a four-bedroom house for his unsuspecting daughter.

He used the remaining money to finance her children's nursery and set up a sports injury clinic for her physiotherapist husband.

Roger Bessent, 66, of Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, dipped into the £17.4m pot to splash out on a four-bedroom house for his unsuspecting daughter. Bessent is pictured here outside Preston Crown Court

Roger Bessent, 66, of Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, dipped into the £17.4m pot to splash out on a four-bedroom house for his unsuspecting daughter. Bessent is pictured here outside Preston Crown Court

The grandfather was caught after an investigation by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Insolvency Service into the Focusplay Retirement Benefit Scheme where he was a trustee and administrator

The grandfather was caught after an investigation by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Insolvency Service into the Focusplay Retirement Benefit Scheme where he was a trustee and administrator

The grandfather was caught after an investigation by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Insolvency Service into the Focusplay Retirement Benefit Scheme where he was a trustee and administrator.

It emerged he had faked the minutes of board meetings to cover his tracks and illegally used some of the pension contributions to finance other companies he ran and pay tax bills.

He has since paid back £78,800 but faces further court action in July to make him repay the rest. Another trustee has since been appointed to the pension scheme.

Bessent was jailed for 40 months at Preston Crown Court in the first case of its kind brought by the TPR.

He admitted seven charges of fraud and acting as a director while disqualified after it emerged he had been running his accountancy practise Gleeson Bessent Ltd in Ashton-on-Ribble, Preston, whilst banned from running a company for nine years.

He has been nicknamed after the late Robert Maxwell who used hundreds of millions of pounds from his companies' pension funds to save himself from bankruptcy.

The court heard Bessent had been running the fund on behalf of 305 members who had making monthly contributions since April 2013. But between October 2014 and December 2016 he transferred £292,886.98 from the scheme into other accounts.

He used £121,000 so he could buy a house in Broughton, Preston, for his daughter and son-in-law then paid a further £104,000 towards the running costs of her nursery Little Rascals which had to temporarily close due to an Ofsted inspection. A further £35,600 from the pension scheme went towards starting up his son-in-law's sports injury clinic Salvador Health and Recovery Ltd.

Mr Will Hays prosecuting for the TPR said: 'The defendant's conduct demonstrates quite astonishing arrogance on his part. In

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