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New Zealand charges man over $317m Ponzi scheme

File photo: New Zealand and American currency Image copyright AFP
Image caption The scheme is said to have cost investors $317m

Prosecutors in New Zealand have charged a man over allegations he was behind a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of NZ$400m ($317m, £202m).

David Ross, 63, "conducted a Ponzi scheme which he disguised by falsely reporting clients' investments", the Serious Fraud Office said.

He faces four counts of false accounting and one of theft by a person in a special relationship.

His case is being described as New Zealand's biggest-ever Ponzi scheme.

The SFO launched a joint investigation with the Financial Markets Authority last year "after complaints were received regarding the delayed or non-payment of funds to investors", it said in a statement.

Mr Ross, a financial adviser in Wellington, is believed to have defrauded about 1,200 investors through his Ross Asset Management and related entities.

"The allegations made amount to serious criminal matters," SFO's Acting Chief Executive Simon McArley said.

"However the saddest fact of all of this is the position that Mr Ross' clients find themselves in."

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment scheme in which existing investors are paid returns from their own capital or from the money of new investors.

Mr Ross posted bail and is scheduled to appear again in court on 4 July, says the Agence-France Presse news agency.

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