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Pensions watchdog to prosecute care provider

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The Pensions Regulator is to take a Birmingham social care provider to court, accused of wilfully failing to enrol its staff in a pension scheme.

Crest Healthcare and its managing director Sheila Aluko also falsely claimed the company had enrolled 25 staff into a workplace pension as required under automatic enrolment rules, the regulator said.

The company and Ms Aluko will each face two charges of wilfully failing to comply with their automatic enrolment duties and one charge each of “knowingly or recklessly providing false of misleading information to [the regulator]”.

Both charges, if tried in a crown court, carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison. If tried at the magistrate’s court, the maximum penalty for both is an unlimited fine.

The summons is for the first appearance at the magistrates’ court. The defendants can opt at this stage for a jury trial in a crown court if they wish to plead not guilty, or they could plead not guilty and ask for it to be dealt with in the magistrates’ court, but this may not be granted. 

The court hearing is scheduled for 22 December.

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