Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Witness challenged in 'Ponzi-scheme' trial

Financial advisor Jacqui Bradley.  Photo / Greg Bowker
Financial advisor Jacqui Bradley. Photo / Greg Bowker

Jacqueline Bradley's defence has questioned if the death of the former financial advisor's husband - co-accused Mike Bradley - was skewing a Crown witness' evidence against her.

Bradley is on trial in the Auckland District Court and faces 75 Crimes Act charges after she allegedly fleeced around $15 million from 28 investors. Bradley has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The accused was "robbing Peter to pay Paul" in a "Ponzi-scheme" operation, the Crown alleges.

While many investors were told they were buying into New Zealand Government Stock or putting money with Macquarie Bank, Crown lawyer Kristy McDonald QC told the jury yesterday.

"The Crown's position is that none of the funds were invested at all."

Jacqueline Bradley's husband, Mike Bradley, was also facing charges but he died last year, weeks before the trial was originally due to start.

The Crown's first witness, Robert Baldey, said he was put on to the couple through his accountant in 1992 after Bradley, then Jackie O'Neill, published a book of financial advice called The Winning Woman .

Baldey and his wife invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bradleys' business, B'On Financial Services, he said on Tuesday.

Although Baldey had conversations and meetings with Mike Bradley, he said in court he "believed she [Jacqueline] was the brains behind the partnership".

But during cross examination from Bradley's lawyer, Ron Mansfield, the witness said today that all of the meetings and telephone conversations about his investments were with Mike Bradley.

The witness agreed he was "heavily-reliant" on Mike Bradley's advice, but that he did receive some in reports and documents sent by Jacqueline Bradley.

These advised Baldey not to withdraw his investments with the Bradleys, he said.

Mansfield brought up a transcript of an interview Baldey had with a Serious Fraud Office investigator in May 2010 and said the witness did not say at the time he had relied on the accused at all.

"[There's] no mention of any reliance on Jackie Bradley," Mansfield said.

"Is it the case that Mike Bradley is now passed away and you want to focus your attention on Jackie Bradley?" Mansfield asked.

"Not true," Baldey replied.

The trial is continuing and is due to take five weeks.

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