Will Minister Really Help The Victims of Financial Crime?
The victims of financial crime hope they will see some good from the latest government action to provide them with more support. Based on the current experiences of the victims of the $450 million Ross Asset Management Ponzi, the government has a long way to go to becoming victim friendly.
The victims of the RAM Ponzi feel they have been treated abysmally by the government agencies over the past year since news of this fraud broke. We feel we were victimised by the gross fraud of David Ross, and hundreds of investors have seen their life savings potentially disappear. Now we feel we are being victimised once again by government agencies and their operatives who refuse to provide us with any reasonable level of information or help.
The information we seek is simple; what happened to our investments, who has the money now, and what will be done to return the money?
The Victims’ Rights Act 2002 seems to guarantee us help, but in practice we have found the opposite to be true. Ross investors have been frustrated at every turn by attempts to obtain the most basic information. Despite the fact that Section 12 of the Victims’ Rights Act guarantees us information on the progress of the investigation and the charges laid, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) refuses to meet with us and provide any such information. Requests for copies of the charges and summaries of facts were frustrated at every turn by the Courts and the SFO, and only by seeking the intervention of judges have we been able to obtain even fragments of information.
The Victims’ Rights Act also guarantees that victims will be treated with courtesy, dignity and compassion (Section 7). To date we feel we have been treated with the exact opposite. We have been so frustrated by the lack of response from government agencies we have taken the matter to the Ombudsman and asked him to intervene with the agencies on behalf of the Ross victims.
The victims are gobsmacked that it appears no comprehensive forensic audit or cash flow analysis of the activities of David Ross have been done by any agency, despite detailed plans and costs on how to do this being submitted by the victims themselves. Unless such work is done it is likely any money laundering or collaboration by the fraudster Ross will go undetected. It appears the authorities won’t do the full audit or release the information so that others can do the work.
The victims of David Ross are left struggling to explain why the authorities behave in such an arrogant and detached manner towards us. We conjecture that the authorities know they are in trouble because they ignored warnings years ago about David Ross being a fraudster, and then even recently issued him with a licence to operate in the financial markets, causing many more investors to put their money with Ross. Above all the authorities have failed to put in place any proper Ponzi law, leaving the liquidator struggling to apply the weak and ineffectual Companies Act which was designed for insolvent companies, not gross fraud of the kind that is all too common in NZ.
The Ross victims fail to see how this new MoU between the SFO and victims support will provide much for the victims of financial crime, especially after the provisions of the Victims’ Rights Act have been so wilfully ignored. However, we always live in the hope of a miraculous change of character by the agencies tasked with helping the victims of financial crime.
Bruce Tichbon for RAM Investors Group Email email@example.com
Ministers Release Follows
Anne Tolley 22 OCTOBER, 2013
Support for victims of financial crime
The Minister responsible for the Serious Fraud Office, Anne Tolley, says victims of financial crime will be better supported, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the SFO and Victim Support.
The MoU will see the two agencies working together to promote and deliver victim support services, and to keep victims informed about their cases.
SFO and Victim Support will also hold joint training sessions to help share information and best practice.
“Financial crime can have a devastating impact on its victims, often for the rest of their lives,” says Mrs Tolley.
“The emotional and financial consequences on these victims can be extremely traumatic, and they deserve support.
“That is why I asked the SFO to establish a close working relationship with Victim Support, to ensure that everything possible is being done to support victims of financial crime, and to keep them informed about their individual cases.
“Victims need to know that someone will be available to provide help and advice, and they also need to have confidence that those who commit financial crime are being held to account.
“The SFO has also published two guides to help victims understand the processes involved in investigations and prosecutions, and how this may affect them.”
The guides are available at http://www.sfo.govt.nz/user_guides
The new support service for victims of financial crime will be piloted in Auckland in early 2014, before being introduced across the country.