Patrick McLarry, 71, appeared at Salisbury Crown Court today after he took funds from the Yateley Industries for the Disabled’s pension scheme, using it for his own personal gain.
McLarry, who was born and brought up in Portsmouth but now lives in Bere Alston, Devon, bought homes in France and Hampshire for himself and his wife.
And £50,000 of the £256,127 went towards the old Mary Rose pub in St George’s Road, Portsmouth.
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The pub reopened as a Chinese restaurant, but prior to that McLarry had purchased a share of the lease, and used the defrauded money to pay off the debt from that.
At the time of committing the fraud, McLarry was both the chief executive and chairman of the charity and a director of VerdePlanet Limited, the corporate trustee of the charity’s pension scheme.
He tried to cover his tracks by forging documents, lying to investigators from The Pensions Regulator about who owned the properties involved and then refusing to hand over vital evidence.
In court today, Judge Andrew Barnett told McLarry: ‘It is a serious matter and the only outcome is a substantial prison sentence.’
Nicola Parish, TPR’s executive director of frontline regulation, said: ‘McLarry posed as a pillar of the community while he was secretly working to steal for himself the pension savings of dozens of disabled workers.
‘He lied repeatedly to try to muddy the waters around him but our investigators cut through his attempts at deception to uncover the truth.
‘This prosecution shows that we will do everything in our power to take action against those criminals who raid pension pots for their own gain. We will now work to recover the funds McLarry took.’
In 2008, McLarry asked Portsmouth restaurants, pubs and chip shops to donate cooking oil to the charity, which could then be transformed into biodiesel and be sold across the south coast – and was the former director of Plane Sailing Sales, also in Portsmouth.
He will be sentenced at Salisbury Crown Court on December 13.