Two men have been found guilty at Tauranga District Court on charges filed by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) over a $645,000 investment scam.
According to FMA, Robert Ian South was found guilty of two counts of theft by a person in a special relationship and Murray Byron Provan was found guilty of two counts of obtaining by deception.
The two men received payments from two elderly women, who were led to believe they were investing their funds in return for shares in a software company. The court heard no shares were ever issued and the money was largely spent on personal items.
Both men were remanded in custody ahead of sentencing on February 22, 2019.
In line with this, FMA is advising New Zealanders to exercise caution when approached about an investment.
“Scams often involve you being approached out of the blue with offers of high returns for no risk,” FMA head of enforcement Karen Chang said. “They might tell you the offer is known to only a few and should be kept secret.
“These promises are almost always too good to be true and a ploy to make you feel special,” she noted.
FMA highlighted that all legitimate investments in New Zealand must have documents that are clear, concise and effective in explaining the investment. It also outlined some tips to avoid investment and finance scams:
- If you’re approached about an investment, is to double-check if it’s legitimate;
- Check on the FMA’s website to see if the business is licensed and look at the warnings issued in the past.