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Ross parole: Investors emotional

An investor who was caught out by David Ross’ Ponzi scheme says people who were burnt by the fraudster will keep an eye on his post-prison lifestyle.

Monday, December 16th 2019, 9:27PM

The 69-year-old is serving a 10 year, 10 month sentence for fraud.

Ross ran Ross Asset Management until 2012, when it was revealed to be a Ponzi scheme.

Investors lost about $115 million. Many were elderly investors who had trusted Ross with their life savings.

He reached the end of his five year, five month non-parole period on January 29 this year.

At his first parole hearing, Ross maintained his offending was due to a mistake that turned the business into a Ponzi.

The board criticised him for being evasive and self-serving and said "low risk" was not "no risk".

Ross has since appeared for a second hearing.

His counsel told the board a psychologist had affirmed he was a low risk of reoffending.

Given the level of publicity, it was unlikely he would try to engage in accounting or financial brokering again.

Ross said that at the time of his offending he enjoyed the admiration and respect that he received from his clients and the wider community. He said when he realised the portfolios were overvalued he did not have “the guts” to own up to his clients about that and kept it to himself. 

He said he put up a false front and misled them to believe that things were going well because he did not want to lose the respect and admiration of others. Ross also said that initially he was over confident that he could put things right and didn’t confide in anybody at the time. He said that he went to his lawyers twice but when he got there he didn’t discuss the reasons why he had come. He said that he found it hard to accept that he had made such a big mistake and had too much pride to advise his clients of that.

The board said he displayed "deep and sincere" remorse. “He acknowledges that it has had a very material impact on his victims and said he is deeply sorry that he is unable to put things right.”

Ross planned to move to a smaller town so that he could find cheap accommodation that his pension would cover.

The board said such a move would also take him out of the "cocktail circuit lifestyle" that he used to be part of.

It ruled he could be released from prison on February 24.

He must not hold roles in any business, participate in the finances of any person or entity, or provide any financial advice.

He will need to seek approval before he engages in any employment.

Bruce Tichbon represents investors who lost money with Ross.

He said the parole board’s decision was “emotional”. “He kept the Ponzi going for 20 years and lied to hundreds of investors, including myself, who thought their money was in safe hands.”

Tichbon said thinking back to meetings with Ross where he had been told lies was “creepy”.

Some people thought Ross should have had a longer sentence, he said.

“He’ll be back in the community … living amongst us again. A lot of people will be very interested in his lifestyle. Many believe he had money stashed away … or maybe he will live in poverty like the investors who lost their life savings.”

Tichbon said he had urged angry investors not to threaten Ross with physical harm. "You might wish that they'd put him away for longer but so be it."

Tags: fraud ponzi Ross Asset Management

« Problems identified with custody arrangementsMann on a mission to diversify financial advice »

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