UK pensioners in Spain warned over storage unit investment scams

Published:  29 May at 6 PM
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Britain’s Serious Fraud Office is warning retirees both in the UK and Europe over fraudulent pension schemes touting high returns on self-storage facility investments.

The Serious Fraud Office last week began an investigation into fraudulent storage unit investment schemes amid fears that large numbers of pensioners have lost massive sums of money to the crooks. Present calculations estimate some £120 million plus of retirement savings has been poured into the schemes, but experts fear the huge amount is just the tip of the iceberg.

One investor was persuaded by fraudsters to transfer around £370,000 from his generous and totally secure NHS pension scheme by telling him he would earn returns of between eight and 12 per cent. It seems he may have lost his life savings along with many other retirees lured into the fraudulent investments with claims of ‘doubling their money’ in six years. A large number of unwary investors are reputed to have lost either all of some of their retirement savings to a number of firms flogging the dodgy schemes.

A glossy, professional brochure issued by a property company and seen by the Guardian newspaper’s Money Page reporters offered units for sale in England’s northwest for between £3750 and £30,000. The units were being sold on long-term leases from a company named Store First Ltd in order to be sublet to a management company involved in renting out. Investors were lured in by promises of 14 per cent average annual yields in addition to a six-year ‘forecast net return’ of over 100 per cent.

Several cases related to the scam have been slammed by the Pensions Ombudsman, who commented one investor may have been duped out of his entire savings as he was unable to withdraw his money. Another retiree is believed to have lost £52,401 when two of the companies flouting the scam were would up in the UK’s High Court. Pensioners were cold-called and fast-talked into transferring their pensions on the basis of a misrepresentation.

British expats in Spain seem to be the main targets of the fraudsters according to an Olive Press’s article, which named Capita Oak Pensions, the Henley Retirement Benefit, Trafalgar Multi Asset Fund and the Westminster Pension Scheme as operators of the scams. Spanish authorities, the National Crime Agency and pension liberation multi-agency group Project Bloom are all involved in the SFO's investigation.
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