Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

SFO investigating US funds provider

Jacqui Bradley sits in the dock during her sentencing at the Auckland District Court in August 2012. Photo / Greg Bowker
Jacqui Bradley sits in the dock during her sentencing at the Auckland District Court in August 2012. Photo / Greg Bowker

The Serious Fraud Office has confirmed it is investigating a US-based funds provider that has links to the case of jailed fraudster Jacqui Bradley.

SFO acting head Simon McArley said his office is looking into the New Zealand activities of the Brockstar Group, which is managed by Californian Brian Willis.

Brockstar featured during the trial of Jacqui Bradley, who swindled $15.5 million out of 28 investors in a Ponzi scheme and was sentenced to seven years and five months in jail last month.

Bradley ran an advisory business - B'On Financial Services - with her now deceased husband Mike, who was also due to stand trial but died last year aged 63.

During Jacqui's case, the Auckland District Court heard how the couple had attempted to get a $50 million loan from Brockstar in 2008 but that this money had never arrived.

The Bradleys had stumped up a large sum as an advance fee for this loan, the court heard.

A statement from the SFO today that it had come across Brockstar during its investigation of B'On and of options trading company Derivatek.

Two men associated with Derivatek - Greg Arnott and Mark Whelan - have been charged by the SFO and appeared in the Auckland District Court this month.

The SFO alleges Arnott used investor funds for personal use, to pay a portion of an advance fee on a US$20 million loan and repay funds to other investors.

Whelan is also accused of using investor funds to fund a portion of an advance fee on a $US20 million loan and for personal use.

The SFO said today that in the case of both B'On and Derivatek, loans were never received and the advance fees were not returned.

"The desire to meet these fees may have driven the conduct that was the subject of both investigations. It is important that we address the drivers of financial crime, and in doing so prevent further losses to the New Zealand public," McArley said.

But McArley warned that Brockstar may be outside New Zealand's jurisdiction.

"However at the very least we can raise the matter with the US and other overseas agencies with whom we have ties, and see if they are in a position to initiate some action," he said.

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