Financial adviser who stole $4.7m loses appeal

By Brendan Manning

The court heard how Evan Cherry stole money from about 175 investors. Photo / Steven McNicholl
The court heard how Evan Cherry stole money from about 175 investors. Photo / Steven McNicholl

A financial adviser who spent some of the $4.7 million he stole from investors on flash cars and a lavish lifestyle has had his appeal against his sentence dismissed.

Evan Cherry, 55, was sentenced in December 2012 to six years and two months in prison with a non-parole period of three-and-a-half years.

The North Shore District Court was told Cherry stole money from about 175 investors. Many of his victims were friends and family and even included the person who married him to his wife.

The money was spent maintaining a lavish lifestyle that included three Porsche sports cars.

At the Court of Appeal at Auckland last November, his lawyer Sam Wimsett argued the starting point of sentencing taken by Judge Nevin Dawson in 2012 - eight years' imprisonment - was too high.

Mr Wimsett described his client as ``in many respects a fool who tried to keep something going which was failing''.

Judge Dawson did not appropriately take into account Cherry's remorse at his sentencing, Mr Wimsett said.

However, at sentencing in 2012, Judge Dawson said Cherry's remorse was prompted by the situation he found himself in.

A recently released judgement from the Court of Appeal has dismissed Cherry's appeal.

In their decision, Justices Rhys Harrison, Simon France and Robert Dobson said Cherry's clients were predominantly investors of relatively modest means, for whom the losses that had "catastrophic impacts'' on their retirement.

The breach of trust involved was, "if anything, more audacious'' than in comparable cases.

"It was a trust he grossly abused, particularly in those cases where he encouraged investors to borrow against equity in their homes to invest with him.''

Cherry's offending inflicted widespread and serious financial harm on a large number of victims.

"We are therefore satisfied that the starting point was entirely appropriate.

"Accordingly, the appeal against the sentence of six years and two months' imprisonment is dismissed.''

An appeal again the imposition of a minimum period of imprisonment was also dismissed.

- NZ Herald

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