Two men earlier found guilty by a jury of scamming more than $600,000 from two elderly Tauranga women have been put behind bars.

Robert Ian South and Murray Byron Provan were each sentenced to four years and six months in prison at Tauranga District Court on Friday following charges laid by the Financial Markets Authority.

Robert Ian South was found guilty of two counts of theft by a person in a special relationship, under Section 220 of the Crimes Act 1961.

Murray Byron Provan was found guilty of two counts of obtaining by deception under Section 240 of the Crimes Act 1961.


Both men were convicted by a jury during a six-day trial in December last year.

The Crown case was that the pair fleeced Gay Rowling and Barbara Gilmer of $645,000 by leading them to believe they were buying shares in an internationally-backed software company called Our World New Zealand Limited, of which South was a director.

During the December trial, Provan and South denied deliberately deceiving the two Tauranga women or scamming them out of their money.

Lawyers Tony Rickard-Simms and Bill Nabney sought bail for their clients on medical grounds pending sentencing to enable them to get their affairs in order.

Judge Paul Mabey QC refused and remanded the pair in custody for sentencing on February 22.

Financial Markets Authority head of enforcement Karen Chang said this type of conduct was "simply egregious" and "undermines confidence and trust in financial services".

"We welcome the sentence, which reflects the level of offending and sends a clear message," she said.

Financial Markets Authority's advice about scam investments:
Scams often involve being approached out of the blue.
Scammers usually talk about high returns at "no risk", only a few people know about and investors should keep it a secret.
Always double-check the investment is legitimate. Check the FMA's website to see if the business is licensed and whether past scam warnings were issued.