Ponzi-accused with Wakatipu investors in court

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The Wellington man accused of running a Ponzi-like scheme affecting 1200 investors including Wakatipu residents has reappeared in court. 

The New Zealand Herald’s website reports David Ross, former manager of Ross Asset Management, appeared in the District Court in Wellington this morning for substantive hearings on eight Crimes and Financial Advisers Act charges. 

The Herald’s website says he was remanded until August 29. All aspects of today’s hearing were suppressed. 

Ross faces charges relating to $384.8 million of assets recorded in the accounts of a Ross vehicle, Bevin Marks, at September 30 last year, which court documents describe as being the product of “fictitious transactions.” 

The Serious Fraud Office alleges large portions of Ross’s client portfolios were invested through a related broker Bevis Marks, with the value overstated by more than $380 million. A Ponzi scheme is a money-go-round
arrangement which uses cash from new investors to pay returns to existing members, who typically think they’re reaping the rewards of an astute investment plan. 

Ross Asset Management’s assets were frozen and receivers appointed last year by the Financial Markets Authority after the watchdog received complaints about delayed or non-payment of investor funds. Ross wasn’t available in the early days of the investigation due to his hospitalisation under the Mental Health Act.

Last month, PwC’s John Fisk and Duncan Bridgman, who were appointed to preserve the assets of the Ross family and related trusts as part of the wider investigation into Ross Asset Management, sold $199,000 of paintings from his Lower Hutt mansion.

An estimated 27 Wakatipu investors are among about 1200 people said to have lost out in the alleged Ponzi scheme which paid out interest from fresh investor funds and falsely reported investments. – NZ Herald