Shane Scott, whose interim name suppression lapsed today, has pleaded not guilty in the Auckland District Court to running a $6 million Ponzi scheme.
He first appeared in court on January 17 facing four charges of obtaining by deception, 23 charges of theft by a person in a special relationship, one charge of using a document with intent to defraud, and two charges of obtaining by false pretence, the Serious Fraud Office said in a statement. A trial date hasn't been set yet, and Scott has been remanded on bail.
The white-collar crime investigator says Scott operated a Ponzi scheme, using funds from new investors to pay returns to existing ones, and that there was no evidence of any legitimate investments in the case.
The long-term investors believed Scott was investing their money in brokering deals in Thailand and other assets, including the diamond trade, South African trade deals and a chicken farm in New Caledonia, the SFO said.
"People who are thinking about investing need to do their own due diligence and get appropriate professional advice before committing any money," SFO director Julie Read said. "This simple step might just save an investor or multiple investors from being deceived by false promises of high returns."
The law enforcement agency said some of the offending dated back more than a decade, and some investors had lost significant amounts of money.