New Zealand man David Ross admits Ponzi charges

File photo: New Zealand and American currency Some 1,200 investors lost money after being defrauded by Mr Ross

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A New Zealand man has pleaded guilty to charges in connection with what has been described as the country's largest ever Ponzi scheme.

David Ross admitted charges including four counts of false accounting and one of theft by a person in a special relationship.

The Wellington financial adviser defrauded about 1,200 investors through his Ross Asset Management firm.

He was charged after an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment scheme in which existing investors are paid returns from their own capital or from the money of new investors.

The SFO began investigating when investors found they could not withdraw their money.

"Large portions of client portfolios shown as invested through a broker 'Bevis Marks' were fictitious and never existed, resulting in an overstatement of investment positions by more than NZ$380m ($297m, £191m)," the SFO said.

"While a guilty plea does not address the significant losses incurred by a large number of victims, it will bring some relief to those victims," SFO Acting Chief Executive Simon McArley said in a statement.

Mr Ross was remanded in custody, with a sentencing date to be set later in the year.

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