Court Of Appeal Rejects Sentence Appeal By PTT’s Steven Robertson
The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has welcomed the Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss a sentence appeal by Steven Robertson, who defrauded victims of $2.1 million through PTT Limited.
In October 2019, Mr Robertson was sentenced by the High Court to six years and eight months’ imprisonment, with a minimum term of three years and four months’ imprisonment, after he was convicted of 38 charges under the Crimes Act 1961.
Mr Robertson argued to the Court of Appeal that his sentence was excessive and no minimum period of imprisonment was justified. He also appealed for a 10% sentence reduction based on previous good character, personal and family circumstances and remorse.
Rejecting the appeal, Justices Gilbert, Wylie and Muir said: “The Judge repeated that Mr Robertson had targeted multiple elderly, unsophisticated and vulnerable victims and robbed them of the security and comfort they were entitled to expect in their retirement. The sentence imposed needed to be sufficient to hold Mr Robertson accountable for this harm,” the judgment says.
“The Judge identified specific and general deterrence as being key considerations in a case such as this where the motivation was pure greed and the offending involved persistent dishonesty over a lengthy period targeting multiple vulnerable victims.”
The Court of Appeal said it was unable to see any errors by the High Court Judge in declining to allow any discount for previous good character and there was no tangible evidence of remorse from Mr Robertson, such as an early confession or efforts to make amends with victims.
“On the contrary, despite the strength of the Crown’s case, Mr Robertson denied his offending to the end.”
FMA General Counsel Nick Kynoch said the sentence reflects the serious number of significant charges that Mr Robertson was convicted of.
“This was a significant case given the egregious harm that Mr Robertson inflicted on elderly and vulnerable people, depriving many of a comfortable retirement. Holding this kind of behaviour to account is essential and we welcome the court’s decision. We express our sympathies to those whose lives and livelihood have been impacted by Mr Robertson’s offending.”
Mr Robertson misappropriated funds deposited by clients who believed that those funds were to be traded on their behalf, or were paid as consideration for the purported purchase of shares in PTT Limited or an associated entity. Mr Robertson also withdrew funds from credit card accounts of some clients without the client’s authority and knowledge.
He purported to provide services that would have required him to be an authorised or registered financial adviser, which is partly why the FMA brought this case.