Financial adviser charged with theft in SFO case

Julie Read, director of the Serious Fraud Office, said Jonathan West's victims had no reason not to trust him. Photo /  NZME
Julie Read, director of the Serious Fraud Office, said Jonathan West's victims had no reason not to trust him. Photo / NZME

A Whitianga financial adviser is accused of using client money for his own purposes in a Serious Fraud Office case.

The SFO said that Jonathan Graham West, 60, appeared in the Tauranga District Court yesterday on five charges of theft by a person in a special relationship.

West was a director of the Investment Centre and Matrix Futures, which the SFO said he operated between 1994 and 2013. Companies Office records say West lives in Whitianga, although it is believed he previously operated out of Tauranga.

"Mr West offered financial planning advice, implementation of investment strategies and ongoing reporting on investments. His clients were situated mainly in the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty and initially these clients saw satisfactory returns from sound business practices," the SFO said in a statement today.

However, the SFO alleges that between 2008 and 2013 Mr West offended by using clients' funds on their behalf but outside the agreed terms or by using his clients' money for his own purposes.

The alleged offending by Mr West amounts to approximately $1.4 million, the SFO said this morning.

West is next due to appear in court next month.

SFO director Julie Read said today:

"Even though Mr West had been given some authority to invest on behalf of clients, our investigation alleges he stepped outside those parameters and that misuse of client money is the basis of the allegations in this case. Unfortunately, given his previous sound advice and results, we believe Mr West's victims had very little reason not to trust him."

- NZ Herald

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