Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Jailed CV faker facing charges in Australia

A now-jailed fraudster who ripped off investors and falsified his CV to get a job with the Financial Markets Authority is facing charges in Australia.

Benjamin Anthony Kiro was this morning jailed for four year and a half years for what prosecutors called a "long and gratuitous" fraud.

The 35-year-old will serve at least half of that period, as Judge Brooke Gibson also imposed a minimum term of two years, three months' imprisonment.

"The community is entitled to a rest from people like you from time to time," the judge said.

A "charismatic" former professional rugby league player, Kiro convinced women he met on online dating sites such as Tinder, or businessmen introduced to him by associates, to invest in companies soon to list on the stock exchange.

The funds given to him, about $250,000, was never invested or was obtained by deception. He has paid only $62,000 of it back.

Kiro pleaded guilty in January to 22 charges including for forgery, use of a forged document, theft by a person in a special relationship and obtaining by deception.

Court documents released to the media today say Kiro is facing similar charges in New South Wales, where he previously played rugby league.

Although Kiro was willing to take part in a restorative justice programme, prosecutor Fiona Culliney said today that the Crown did not believe he had shown remorse.

Kiro's lawyer, Asishna Prasad, said her client had lost both his parents at a young age and that his offending was driven by problems with drugs and alcohol which had "escalated out of control".

"It is really his drug use that led him there ... he said he couldn't pull himself out," she said while referring to a pre-sentence report.

Kiro was remorseful, had learnt a "massive lesson" from his offending and was supported by his sister and partner, she said.

Judge Gibson read out victim impact statements during the sentencing, including one from a single mother who gave Kiro $50,000.

The woman, whose name is suppressed, said she was devastated at the loss and was raising two children without support after the death of her partner.

"You took money not only from people who might be able to afford losses but you took it from people who very definitely couldn't," the judge said.

Judge Gibson mentioned another victim who had received the same university scholarship as Kiro. The victim, the court heard, thought the fraudster had now "put that to shame".
Kiro forged his academic record from Australian universities and used a false curriculum vitae to get a job at the FMA in 2014. He worked at the capital markets regulator for around three months.

The FMA chief executive Rob Everett said last year that he was "gutted" when he learned of the allegations facing Kiro.

In a statement today an FMA spokeswoman said: "The FMA is deeply disappointed about what happened in relation to Mr Kiro and the impact his offending has had on the victims of his crimes."

"We note the court's decision and the significant sentences imposed for what the judge has characterised as serious and sophisticated offences. Mr Kiro worked at the FMA in a junior role for approximately 3 months, and resigned in January 2015," the spokeswoman said.

"The credentials, integrity and quality of its staff are hugely important to the FMA and we are confident in the integrity of our current staff.

"We have taken measures to ensure as best we can that this cannot happen again, and to enhance our existing processes."

According to court documents, Kiro used a forged Fonterra employment contract to obtain a tenancy for an apartment on Gore St, in Auckland's central business district.
It is understood that Kiro lived in the apartment for a short time in 2014.

Kiro, according to court documents, also falsified an offer of employment from AMP Capital as head of investment operations and a contract with AMP Capital in his own name with a $146,000 salary.

As well as this, he also falsified a letter of employment for BT Financial Group.

- NZ Herald

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