Darren Say (46) used the investments to “fund his lifestyle” between 2010 and 2016, reports the BBC.
He was first charged in January 2016 and appeared before Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday, where he pleaded not guilty but was convicted of fraud.
Say was sentenced to six years for fraud by abuse of position and two years for fraudulent trading, to run concurrently.
Detective inspector Lee Morton of the Kent and Essex serious crime directorate, said: “Darren Say used the mechanism of the pension scheme he developed as his personal cash cow, taking money he was responsible for to fund his lifestyle.
“He has let down his clients, who were persuaded that his pension scheme would provide for them in retirement.”
All his clients’ money had gone by the time of his arrest, Essex Police said, but added that they will now seek to recoup the stolen money under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Invented a scheme
During his trial, the court was told that Say invented a pension scheme where he loaned money to investors for their Sipp.
According to his LinkedIn profile, in 2007, Say founded Noisnep (pension spelled backwards) Capital, a business that provided “interest free, advanced pension funding for the nine out of 10 savers who faced an average £250,000 shortfall at retirement”.
Two years later he founded Noisnep Limited, where Say promised to “bring about a consumer-led revolution to the pension industry”.
Members were promised up to £500,000 on 0% interest over a five-year period to fund pension contributions. The scheme promised that Noisnep would take up to 100% of the risk.
Say’s LinkedIn profile states: “Noisnep clients never risk a single penny of their own hard-earned savings in this strategy and never pay investment fees unless fixed investment objectives at outset are achieved – FACT.”
He also claimed that the Financial Conduct Authority “reviewed our strategy in May 2013 and we satisfied their enquiries at the first attempt”.
He told investors, some of whom were his own employees, that their funds would be used to develop a luxury holiday resort in the Bahamas which would be worth in excess of £100m when finished.
Instead, Say took £1m, made up of his clients’ pension funds and tax breaks from HM Revenue & Customs, for himself.
The Sipps business was separate from advice firm Wealth Connection Limited, of which Say was chief executive between July 2010 and October 2016.
Jury were sure to convict
Christopher Tarrant, specialist prosecutor in the specialist fraud division of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Say treated the money entrusted to him as his own and spent it on funding his lavish lifestyle including buying a plot of land to build his family home.
“He provided his clients with impressive looking figures which they could look forward to on retirement, despite knowing this would never happen.
“Say denied his guilt but the evidence presented by the CPS meant the jury were sure he had committed the frauds alleged and convicted him.”