Ponzi scheme guilty plea

A Christchurch man who used his businesses to conduct a Ponzi scheme has pleaded guilty. It is believed investors lost more than $17.5 million.

Wednesday, October 11th 2017, 4:42PM

Paul Clifford Hibbs was prosected by the Serious Fraud Office, and faced charges of false statement by promoter, theft by person in special relationship, using forged documents and forgery.

He pleaded guilty to all of those charges and has been remanded in custody until sentencing.

Hibbs owned and operated Cameron Gladstone Investments Limited and Hansa Limited. It is believed he targeted high-net-worth investors.

Hibbs provided clients with false reports in relation to their investments and used investors’ funds for purposes other than required.

At its peak, it is believed that his business had about 25 clients with about $23m invested. But by 2008 his legitimate business had become a Ponzi scheme. 

He began using clients' money to pay other investors, to pay business expenses and for his own purposes. He reported to his clients via email and meetings, paying some "dividends" or "interest" on investments that had already been sold. 

Forged documents were given to clients who asked for details of their investments.

When the FMA and SFO began investigating, Hibbs was reporting to 24 investors that they had $22m invested with him.

SFO director Julie Read said: “If investors have doubts, a good option is to check the list of authorised financial advisers on the Financial Markets Authority website. All financial advisers must comply with the requirements of the Financial Advisers Act 2008. Mr Hibbs was not registered.”

He will be sentenced in February. Both companies are now in liquidation.

Tags: serious fraud office

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