The High Court has permanently prohibited convicted Ponzi scheme operator Lance Jared Ryan from managing a company and banned his former co-defendant David Blake for 12 years.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says these are the two longest bans ever imposed under the Companies Act 1993 and can only end with the consent of the High Court.
In July last year, Ryan was sentenced to seven years and six months' imprisonment, which in December was reduced to six years, for running Arena Capital as a Ponzi scheme which took more than $8 million from about 900 investors.
Blake had been convicted in 2017 of promoting and managing companies, including Hygiene Foundation and Q Technology, while prohibited and sentenced to two years and four months' imprisonment.
The two companies ultimately went into liquidation owing creditors more than $700,000 and $600,000 respectively.
Ryan was also prosecuted and convicted of three charges of aiding Blake and was sentenced to two years and two months' imprisonment.
"Both have also been adjudicated bankrupt on multiple occasions and are at present undischarged bankrupts," MBIE says.
The Registrar of Companies, Ross van der Schyff, sought the prohibitions of the pair because he considered their offending to be "among the most serious cases of non-compliance with the act that he had seen," it says.
Chief High Court judge, Justice Geoffrey Venning, said that "Mr Ryan has been guilty of persistent and ongoing dishonest behaviour involving the use of company structures to obtain money from the public. His case is one of the most serious cases and is an appropriate case for a lifetime ban."
Blake "has displayed an arrogant disregard for the law and the compliance obligations …. Mr Blake's conduct was wilful and deliberate. He set out to circumvent the statutory ban imposed on him as a result of his earlier convictions. Despite his protestations of ignorance, the pattern of behaviour was clear and deliberate."
The companies registrar van der Schyff says the prohibitions "should serve as a strong message to the public that the registrar will take action in appropriate cases where there is serious and repeated misconduct."