New Zealand opens record Ponzi trial

AFP-JIJI

A New Zealand fund manager appeared in court Thursday charged with masterminding the country’s largest Ponzi scheme, which allegedly defrauded more than 1,200 investors of 400 million New Zealand dollars ($320 million).

The Serious Fraud Office said that David Ross, 63, had been charged with four counts of false accounting and one of theft over his management of Ross Asset Management, which collapsed last November.

The SFO said it launched a joint investigation with the Financial Markets Authority late last year that allegedly found that Ross had siphoned funds worth hundreds of millions of dollars through a fictitious broker and legitimate investments. The fund itself totaled only NZ$10.2 million.