SFO charges financial planners over $15 mln ‘Ponzi scheme’
By Paul McBeth
Dec. 9 (BusinessDesk) – The Serious Fraud Office is prosecuting two financial planners over what it has described as a “Ponzi scheme” involving $15 million.
Michael Bradley and wife Jacqueline face 87 charges for allegedly defrauding some 85 investors between 2003 and 2009. The arrest was flagged by director Adam Feeley, who yesterday told Parliament’s Law and Order Committee an arrest would be made today involving a “Ponzi scheme” type of investment.
“Anyone contemplating investing their hard-earned money should understand the risks that are attached to any form of investment,” Feeley said in a statement. “However, it is also reasonable that New Zealanders can expect that any investment scheme is run honestly, and that their money is used in the manner promised.”
The Companies Office began investigating the couple’s businesses last year after receiving complaints, and the Serious Fraud Office was called in January to look into the affairs the failed companies’ books.
The couple put their group of companies into liquidation at the end of last year, and liquidator Brian Mayo-Smith of BDO said in his July report that he hadn’t “been able to verify the existence of any investments made with investor funds deposited into the company bank accounts.”
“Our review of company records indicates that investors’ monies received have been utilised to pay other investors and expenses of the company. We have not received satisfactory explanations from the directors in this respect,” Mayo-Smith said.
The couple’s Remuera house was sold in July for more than $4 million, though most of that went towards a bank mortgage.