Failed financial adviser and company director Barry Kloogh has pleaded guilty to 11 of 12 charges after defrauding investors of at least $15.7 million.
The Dunedin District Court heard this morning that one charge had been put off for further discussions with the Serious Fraud Office.
The court heard that sentencing, on May 14, could take up to half a day for investors to give their victim impact statements.
Kloogh was remanded in custody and no bail application made.
Defence counsel Sarah Saunderson-Warner said he accepted he would be sentenced to imprisonment.
Like his first appearance, Kloogh was watched by several former investors as he stood in the dock.
When his firms were placed into liquidation, Kloogh had 2000 active clients.
The liquidator's first report, released last October, said evidence showed the companies operated as a Ponzi scheme controlled by Mr Kloogh.
The SFO and the Official Assignee — who is now handling the liquidation process — have each made strenuous efforts to contact all affected investors.
However, lawyers acting pro-bono for former clients of Kloogh fear that the full extent of how much was taken by him will never be known.
As well as individual charges of forgery, theft by a person in special relationship and obtaining by deception, Kloogh faces representative charges alleging false accounting, making false statements by a promoter, theft by a person in special relationship, and obtaining by deception.
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The various charges have maximum penalties of between three and 10 years' imprisonment.
When Kloogh appeared in court February 20 after the charges were laid he made no comment to media as he left the courthouse, before being driven away.
An SFO statement after Kloogh's first appearance gave further details of the extent of Kloogh's business dealings, and how much money might be lost.
"Mr Kloogh provided his financial advisory services through several companies of which he was the sole director and shareholder," a spokesman said.
"He had approximately 2000 active clients in May 2019."
That date was when the SFO executed search warrants at his home and business premises.
In August, two firms operated by Kloogh (57), Financial Planning Ltd and Impact Enterprises Ltd, went into liquidation.
The official assignee's first report into the liquidation of FPL and IEL estimated that more than 170 clients were owed between $12 million and $14 million.
The SFO yesterday said its charges alleged Kloogh had defrauded investors of at least $15.7million.
Charging documents allege Kloogh stole almost $630,000 belonging to two investors, and included a representative charge alleging $15 million belonging to a number of investors was stolen.
Other SFO allegations include that Kloogh altered bank statements and portfolio valuations, made fictitious investments, and placed money into accounts other than those where he said he would deposit the funds. The SFO also alleged that Kloogh used loaned money to repay investors rather than buy real estate, as he had represented.
Kloogh was ordered to surrender his passport and not apply for a new one, remain resident at his bail address, and to have no contact with investors in his failed companies unless through the official assignee.
Affected investors have formed a group to offer each other support and advice following the demise of Kloogh's companies.
A spokeswoman said investors did not wish to comment at the moment, but urged anyone who believed they had lost money to join the group.
Several Dunedin lawyers and advisers are helping the group on a pro bono basis.
Spokesman Geoff Mirkin said the group would continue to work on behalf of investors as the case proceeded through court.
Kloogh began his financial services career in 1983, and offered advisory services through several companies, most recently trading as Breathe Financial.
He offered investment advice, obtained insurance policies, and assisted clients to reduce debt.