Fraudster gets 2-year jail term for £70,000 pension theft

A former pension scheme administrator has been sentenced to two years in prison for stealing £70,000 from Barnet Council’s pension scheme.

Initially reported by The Northern Echo, former Capita employee Joseph Hutchinson-Clish stole the cash while working at the firm’s Darlington office.

Harrow Crown Court handed down the ruling on 25 February, with the jail term suspended for two years, after Hutchinson-Clish pleaded guilty to abuse of position.

He will also be subject to a 15-day rehabilitation order after admitting to making seven transactions totalling £70,596.62 into his personal bank account over a period of more than two years.

Speaking on the case, the judge, Recorder M Chawla QC, said it was “unclear” why he had committed the fraud.

Chawla added: “It appears you used the money simply to supplement a lifestyle that was by no means extraordinary.

“In any event, it is clear you have found it impossible to accept to yourself, let alone to anyone else, why exactly it was you did what you did.”

However, the judge noted that there was a high culpability for the crimes, as Hutchinson-Clish abused a position of power, trust and responsibility, and it was committed over a “sustained period of time”.

Barnet Council is reportedly working with Capita to recover the stolen cash and recently ended Capita’s contract to manage the scheme, which is now managed by West Yorkshire Pension Fund.

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