An Auckland financial adviser accused of stealing $3 million of investors' money has been charged by the Serious Fraud Office and Financial Markets Authority.
Andrew Hrothgar Robinson allegedly stole client funds to repay other investors and for business and personal expenses between 2010 and 2012.
Robinson is a former director of Strategic Planning Group (SPG) and a current director of SPG Investment Company No.1 Limited (SPGI).
Strategic Planning Group provided financial, accounting, mortgage broking and insurance services to clients for around eight years.
Robinson is also accused of making false statements in reports to hide the true picture from investors.
The 40-year-old appeared in the Auckland District Court today facing five charges of theft by a person in a special relationship and one charge of dishonestly using a document.
These charges were laid by the SFO while the FMA has laid one charge against
Robinson under the Financial Service Providers Act for providing a broking service without being registered, and one charge of knowingly making a false statement in his application to become an Authorised Financial Adviser.
These advisers are licensed by the FMA.
He is also facing two charges for allegedly making false statements in financial documents. Robinson's co-director at SPG1, Mark Turnock, also faces these charges.
The probe into SPG and SPG1 began in December last year after a complaint about Robinson's management of client funds.
The FMA took immediate action of requesting a freeze on Robinson's and SPG's bank accounts, it said in a statement today.
Robinson's financial adviser license was terminated around this time.
"Public confidence in the financial adviser regime relies on advisers complying with their regulatory obligations and FMA will take appropriate action where it is alleged this is not occurring," said FMA head of enforcement Belinda Moffat.
"It is critical that members of the public have available to them accurate financial statements when making informed investment decisions. Directors have an obligation to ensure that financial statements are not false or misleading," Moffat said.
Both Robinson and Turnock are next due to appear in court on 26 September.