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Yateley Industries for the Disabled Pension and Assurance Scheme - Regulatory intervention report

Regulatory intervention report issued under section 89 of the Pensions Act 2004 in relation to the Yateley Industries for the Disabled Pension and Assurance Scheme. 

Published: 23 February 2021

Case summary

Patrick McLarry, the chief executive of a charity for disabled people, was given a five-year prison sentence and ordered to pay back over £250,000 of scheme members’ savings after a successful criminal prosecution by TPR. McLarry pleaded guilty to defrauding Yateley Industries for the Disabled’s pension scheme, using the money to buy properties in the UK and France.


Yateley Industries for the Disabled Ltd is a registered charity, providing employment and training to individuals who live on-site in specialist accommodation.

At the time of our investigation, Patrick McLarry was the charity’s chief executive and company secretary, and Roy Grimwood was chairman to the charity’s board of trustees.

Between 2011 and 2013, the pension scheme was run by a corporate trustee company called VerdePlanet. Both Roy Grimwood and Patrick McLarry were directors of VerdePlanet at the same time as carrying out their roles at Yateley.

Regulatory action

In June 2013, we received a whistle-blower report from a scheme adviser, who raised concerns about the investment of scheme funds in businesses connected to VerdePlanet. As there was a serious risk to the scheme’s assets a Special Procedure request (which prevents suspects being alerted to our investigation) was referred to the Determinations Panel a decision-making committee separate from the rest of TPR. The Panel determined to immediately appoint Dalriada as an independent trustee to the scheme.

Following their appointment, Dalriada alerted us to several unusual investments made by VerdePlanet. We investigated and found numerous areas of concern, including:

  • Scheme funds being invested inappropriately and without appropriate legal and investment advice. These investments included a helicopter training school and an antiques business called Plane Sailing Sales Ltd (PSSL), which was owned by Patrick McLarry’s wife, Sandra McLarry (under her maiden name of Dudley)
  • Payments being made directly from the scheme accounts to Patrick McLarry and Roy Grimwood
  • Inconsistent and misleading accounts given to TPR and Dalriada in respect of the investments and payments
  • Scheme funds transferred to a personal bank account based in France in the name of Patrick McLarry and his wife

Mr McLarry provided multiple conflicting explanations about the investments and payments and how they were used, particularly in relation to the money transferred to his account in France. He and Mr Grimwood also sought to deflect attention away from their actions by making a series of complaints about TPR’s handling of this investigation – none of which were upheld.

As part of the investigation we issued Patrick McLarry with a notice under s72 of the 2004 Pensions Act which required him provide us with statements for the French bank account. He failed to supply them, and in April 2017 we successfully prosecuted him for this non-compliance and obtained the bank statements.
After reviewing the bank statements, we established that scheme funds had been used to purchase two properties in France. At this point, we opened a criminal investigation into a possible fraud having been committed with scheme funds.

In December 2017 the Panel prohibited Patrick McLarry and Roy Grimwood from being trustees of any pension scheme. It concluded that McLarry and Grimwood were not “fit and proper persons” to act as pension scheme trustees because of widespread and serious failings.

You can read more about the Panel’s conclusions in the Determination Notice.

Patrick McLarry and Roy Grimwood repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and sought to challenge all aspects of the regulatory action. This included referring both the decision to appoint an independent trustee to the scheme, and their prohibition, to the Upper Tribunal (UT). These challenges were unsuccessful. The UT struck out their reference regarding the IT appointment and they later withdrew their referral in relation to the prohibition. While these challenges were unsuccessful, they did lengthen the time it took for the regulatory action to conclude.

The criminal investigation

In May 2018 we forensically examined and analysed the data from the computers the suspects had access to at the charity.

In July 2018, working with City of London Police and local police forces, we executed search warrants at the home addresses of McLarry and Grimwood. We recovered mobile phones, a laptop, paperwork relating to the purchase of the two French properties, paperwork relating to a loan of £50,000 and details of McLarry’s repayment of this loan. In total over 20,000 documents were reviewed as part of the criminal investigation.

We also took witness statements from key staff at the charity, its auditors, the scheme actuary, the independent trustee, and conducted our own financial analysis. In December 2018, Patrick and Sandra McLarry were interviewed under caution.

In February 2019 TPR launched a prosecution against Patrick McLarry for fraud by abuse of position and against Sandra McLarry for money laundering offences. We decided it was not in the public interest to pursue a prosecution against Roy Grimwood.

Both Patrick and Sandra McLarry initially pleaded not guilty to the charges. However, Patrick McLarry changed his plea to guilty on 11 November 2019, the date the trial was due to start. In light of his guilty plea to fraud, we decided it would no longer be in the public interest to pursue a prosecution of Sandra McLarry for money laundering.


On 10 February 2020, Patrick McLarry was sentenced to five years in prison and disqualified from being a company director for eight years. We began confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) to recover the money he had misappropriated in the fraud. On 4 September 2020, the court ordered him to pay £286,852 back to the scheme.

In February 2021, he was stripped of his MBE after we gave evidence to the Honours Committee.

Powers used

Requirement to produce information (s72 Pensions Act 2004 (PA 2004))

We may issue a notice to someone who may have information relevant to a case (such as a trustee, scheme manager, sponsoring employer or adviser) to give us any documents we request. Failing to comply without a reasonable excuse is an offence.

Prohibition (s3 Pensions Act 1995 (PA 1995))

Used to prohibit an individual from acting as a trustee of a pension scheme because we do not consider them to be a 'fit and proper person’. Their names are put on a register held by TPR. 

Appointment of an Independent Trustee (s7 PA 1995)

Enables us to appoint a trustee in place of existing ones where the scheme is not being properly run or the interests of members need protecting.

Criminal prosecution

We have powers to prosecute criminal offences concerned specifically with workplace pensions across the UK, both under pensions legislation and the general criminal law. For more information, please see our Prosecution Policy.

Confiscation order (s6 Proceeds of Crimes Act 2002 (POCA 2002)) 

An order granted in the Crown Court which seeks to recover the financial benefit that an offender has obtained from their criminal conduct.

Production order (s345 POCA 2002)

A court order requiring an individual or an institution to produce specified material as part of a confiscation and/or money laundering investigation.

Restraint order (s41 POCA 2002)

Allows the court to prohibit someone from dealing with a property they own so that the assets are preserved for a confiscation order.

Fraud by Abuse of Position (s1 and 4 Fraud Act 2006)

An offence where someone who is expected to look after the financial interests of another abuses that position dishonestly to make a gain for themselves or to cause loss to another person.

Publishing information (s89 PA 2004)

This enables TPR to publish information on cases where we have exercised or considered exercising our powers. This may include information that we have obtained through exercising our statutory functions.

Our approach

As this case shows, we are prepared to use all powers available to us to bring criminals like Patrick McLarry to justice and return the savings of the scheme members wherever possible. Working with colleagues from other regulators and law enforcement agencies where necessary, we will pursue fraudsters who exploit others’ hard-earned savings for personal gain.

We welcome approaches from whistle-blowers, who were pivotal to the success of this case. Trustees, advisers or scheme members who have suspicions or concerns about the way their workplace pension is being run should contact us via the whistleblowing form on our website.

Timeline of events

  • 29 August 2013: IT appointed with exclusive powers following a special procedure request. 
  • 8 November 2013: Compulsory Review by the Determinations Panel where the decision to appoint an IT was upheld.
  • 27 November 2013: Reference to the Upper Tribunal by Mr McLarry and Mr Grimwood challenging the decision to appoint an IT.
  • 20 December 2013: TPR application to the Upper Tribunal seeking to strike out the reference.
  • 27 March 2014: Reference struck out on the ground that it had no reasonable prospects of success.
  • 16 September 2014 – Mr McLarry and Mr Grimwood apply to reinstate their November 2013 reference.
  • 14 January 2015 – Mr McLarry and Mr Grimwood withdraw their application to reinstate their reference.
  • 23 July 2015 – Section 72 Notice requiring information issued to Mr McLarry as part of the ongoing prohibition investigation.
  • 5 April 2017: Patrick McLarry convicted of refusing to provide information to TPR and ordered to pay £6,500.
  • 10 July 2017: criminal investigation begins.
  • 8 December 2017: Patrick McLarry and Roy Grimwood prohibited from acting as trustees.
  • 20 December 2017: Reference to the Upper Tribunal by Mr McLarry and Mr Grimwood challenging the decision to prohibit them.
  • 3 May 2018: Reference withdrawn by Mr McLarry and Mr Grimwood.
  • 26 July 2018: search warrants executed at the home addresses of the key suspects in the criminal case.
  • 8 February 2019: criminal prosecution against Patrick and Sandra McLarry.
  • 11 November 2019: Patrick McLarry pleads guilty to fraud.
  • 10 February 2020: Patrick McLarry sentenced to five years imprisonment and disqualified from being a company director for eight years.
  • 4 September 2020: Patrick McLarry ordered to re-pay £286,852 to the pension scheme, plus TPR’s legal costs.
  • February 2021: Patrick McLarry stripped of MBE.