Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Ross ponzi clawback in Supreme Court today

David Ross was sentenced in 2013 to 10 years, 10 months' jail for an elaborate Ponzi scheme spanning 12 years in which an estimated $115.5 million of investments was lost. Photo / Mark Mitchell
David Ross was sentenced in 2013 to 10 years, 10 months' jail for an elaborate Ponzi scheme spanning 12 years in which an estimated $115.5 million of investments was lost. Photo / Mark Mitchell

A test case that will decide how much the liquidators of David Ross' ponzi scheme can claw back from investors will be argued in the Supreme Court today.

Ross Asset Management's liquidators and investor Hamish McIntosh are both appealing to the country's highest court.

McIntosh's appeal, which the Wellington lawyer will argue himself, fights an order that he repay $454,000 of "fictitious profits" he received from Ross Asset Management (RAM).

The liquidators' appeal will try also get back the $500,000 of capital that McIntosh put into RAM but got out before it collapsed along with that profit.

The case will impact how the liquidators, John Fisk and David Bridgman from PwC, deal with other investors.

If they win in the Supreme Court, they will target almost 450 other RAM investors who got paid out more than $80 million from the business.

If the situation remains as it is today, they will only try to recover $40.1 million of "fictitious profits" from about 250 investors in the fraudulent business.

Any money clawed back will then be available for creditors of RAM, who were owed about $115 million when RAM failed.

The liquidators so far received back $4.5 million after settling with 16 investors.
Described last year by a judge as an "innocent investor", McIntosh borrowed $500,000 from Westpac to put into the fraudster's business in 2007.

His investment had purportedly grown to $954,000 when he closed his portfolio four and a half years later and the liquidators of RAM's since-collapsed business went to the High Court at Wellington last March to recover the funds.

While the High Court ruled McIntosh had a defence to the claim for the $500,000 original investment, the Wellingtonian was last year ordered to pay back the $454,000 of "fictitious profits".

McIntosh appealed those orders, while the liquidators, Fisk and David Bridgman from PwC, challenged the point over the $500,000.

In a majority judgment released in March, Justices Christine French and Rhys Harrison dismissed both appeals.

Justice Forrest Miller, in a dissenting judgment, dismissed McIntosh's appeal but said he would have allowed the liquidators' appeal - effectively meaning the Wellington lawyer would have needed to pay back the full $954,000.

Ross Asset Management collapsed in November 2012 leaving some of 1200 clients $115 million out-of-pocket. It was later revealed that director David Ross was running a Ponzi scheme.

He was convicted of fraud and jailed for 10 years and 10 months.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 02 Oct 2016 08:25:31 Processing Time: 519ms