Stuart Garner fails to appear at Norton pensions hearing

The Norton CEO was due to at a hearing with pension fund members and the pensions ombudsman

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NORTON CEO Stuart Garner has failed to attend a hearing at the pensions ombudsman scheduled to take place yesterday afternoon.

The hearing has been called to hear allegations from members of the Norton pensions fund who fear that their retirement savings have been wiped out.

Garner was due to appear at the hearing, where it was hoped he would answer claims brought by members of the pensions fund set up by Garner. The 30 members of the public are alleging that Garner failed to release the pension pots when they were due.

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Earlier this month a Guardian and ITV investigation revealed that 228 people had been duped by Garner and his associates – both of whom were already convicted fraudsters – into investing up to £14m.

Despite Garner’s absence, the ombudsman heard from claimants, including Sally Holmes, who’s father had paid into the pension scheme but sadly later died before the funds could be withdrawn. She said, “He had MS so we knew he would pass away young … We tried to drawdown on his pension so that [the family] could spend more time with Dad. We were told that somebody [else] had to buy into the scheme before [Garner] could give the drawdown … It’s been years and years.”

One of the ploys used to get people to transfer their pensions from standard schemes into the Norton pension was the promise of a tax-free lump sum for doing so, the reality was a hefty tax bill and zero lump sum.

Garner states that he too is a victim of the scam, although the Guardian and ITV News allege to have seen documents suggesting that Garner knew his associates were being investigated for fraud more than a year before the three began working on the Norton scheme.