A financial adviser has been sentenced to six years and two months in prison after stealing $4.7 million from investors, many of whom were family and friends.
Evan Paul Cherry was sentenced at the North Shore District Court today after earlier pleading guilty to two charges of theft and two of misleading investors yesterday.
Judge Nevin Dawson also ordered Cherry to serve a minimum term of imprisonment of three-and-a-half-years.
His lawyer Matt Dixon told the court there was nothing left to repay investors.
The court heard how Cherry spent some of the investor's money on mortgages, luxury cars and school fees.
Cherry, who ran Investment Solutions in Albany, Auckland, was watched by a packed public gallery that included his wife and some of the 175 investors who lost money to his schemes.
The charges, laid by Serious Fraud Office, related to offending between 2002 and 2007.
Cherry funnelled more than $1.2m of the stolen money into his business through buying 250 shares.
He used $583,000 of investor money for his own personal use and $2.7m to repay other investors, in what is commonly known as a Ponzi scheme.
One of Cherry's victims was Pete Moir, who previously told APNZ that he considered Cherry a friend when he invested the $100,000 proceeds from his house sale.
Mr Moir said Cherry used to drop around for a cup of tea.
"I never got statements. I just let it cruise because I trusted him."
He said Cherry "never promised the world" but said even in a worst-case scenario, he would still do better than the interest rates on offer from the banks.
"The best-case scenario was we would make a lot of money.''
Mr Moir said he asked for his money in 2009, but Cherry convinced him to hold on until the end of the financial year.
Mr Moir said he was doing up his house, so he took out a loan for $100,000 based on the belief that his investment with Cherry was about to mature.
Instead, he has been left owing $100,000 on his revolving home loan - which he refers to as his "revolting home loan".
He is also unlikely to see any of the $100,000 that he invested with Cherry.
"I'm going to lose my house."
Cherry is the latest in a string of financial advisers to rip off family and friends.
Earlier this year, Jacqui Bradley was found guilty of 75 fraud-related charges after a month-long trial at the Auckland District Court.