An Auckland stock trader has been sentenced to home detention after stealing from investors who had already fallen victim to a high-flying fraudster.
Rodney McCall, also known as Rodney Crichton, appeared today in the Manukau District Court for a third attempt at sentencing.
He had pleaded guilty in June to two representative charges of obtaining by deception, one representative charge of dishonestly using a document, and two charges of obstruction of the Financial Markets Authority's (FMA) powers under the Financial Markets Authority Act.
McCall's sentencing had been adjourned twice because it was anticipated he would today be able to pay back all the money he stole to his victims.
The 43-year-old obtained just under $100,000 from those he contacted during his scheme, and he was charged over fraudulent investments of a little more than $70,000.
McCall's ruse involved contacting people - some of whom had already fallen victim to former associate and high-profile fraudster Steven Robertson - before convincing them to "invest".
Today, however, Judge Charles Blackie heard McCall had only paid two victims a total of about $14,000.
The convicted con-man also said he had an additional $10,000 he could pay today.
But Judge Blackie was sceptical about the validity of McCall's claims.
"I'm dealing with a fraudster," he said. "I'm dealing with someone who is inherently dishonest and I just don't trust it."
Judge Blackie said McCall's investors trusted him but it was "entirely misplaced".
The fraud had a severe impact on many of the victims' financial wellbeing, and in some cases they lost entire life savings.
The money was simply transferred into bank accounts McCall controlled before he spent it on gambling, alcohol, transport and living expenses, the court heard.
While McCall wrote a letter of remorse, Judge Blackie did not consider it to be a genuine expression.
The judge sentenced him to 12 months' home detention and also barred McCall from being involved in the handling of money, giving financial advice, applying for a credit card or loan, and engaging in the affairs of any business, trust or entity unless approved by a probation officer.
He also ordered McCall's finances for the purposes of reparation to his victims to be under the control of a probation officer.
"Those are very strict conditions and they are going to curtail your business activities," Judge Blackie said, adding the conditions will continue for six months after his home detention ends.
McCall was employed by Robertson at his company, Prosper Through Trading Limited (PTT), which was later uncovered as a $10 million Ponzi scheme.
Some of McCall's victims were also investors in PTT, that McCall worked for from February 2015 to August 2015 selling trading packages.
After leaving PTT, McCall established a new trading firm Morgan Cooper Limited.
But he soon began cold-calling and preying on potential investors to promote a foreign exchange investment service which simply didn't exist.
Neither he, nor his company was authorised or licensed by the FMA.
McCall then obstructed the FMA during its investigation by giving false evidence in purported compliance with a notice issued to him under the FMA Act.
Robertson, who was PTT's director, was last year sentenced to six years and eight months' imprisonment for misappropriating millions of dollars from his clients.
He used it to fund a lavish lifestyle of expensive European cars, luxury weekend getaways, overseas holidays - including by private jet - and jewellery.
Robertson boasted he was "as good as John Key" and was described by one victim as a "very persuasive sort of a fella... I reckon he could sell ice to an Eskimo".
The FMA described it as a $10m Ponzi scheme with 22 victims, one of whom was now so suspicious of financial people he refuses to deposit money in a bank.
Robertson's appeal to reduce his sentence was rejected by the Court of Appeal in June.