SFO charges alleged Ponzi 'mastermind'

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Charges have been laid today in the Wellington District Court against David Robert Gilmour Ross, the alleged operator behind a $400 million Ponzi scheme.

He now faces four charges of false accounting and one charge of theft by person in special relationship.

SFO's acting chief executive, Simon McArley said, "The allegations made amount to serious criminal matters. However, the saddest fact of all of this is the position that Mr Ross' clients find themselves in.”

Under Crimes Act offences for false accounting, Ross would be liable to imprisonment for a term up to 10 years. False accounting by an officer or member of body corporate brings possible imrisonment for up to 7 years.

The charges laid by SFO allege that Ross conducted a Ponzi scheme which he disguised by falsely reporting clients' investments. They allege that large portions of client portfolios shown as invested through a broker ‘Bevis Marks' were fictitious and never existed, resulting in an overstatement of investment positions by more than $380 million.

FMA head of enforcement Belinda Moffat said that the Financial Markets Authority will now complete its investigation into conduct by Ross under the Financial Advisers Act.