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Charges over Ponzi scheme

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/06/2017

A former private banker faces a series of criminal charges over what the fraud watchdog alleges was a Ponzi scheme.

Paul Clifford Hibbs, 48, appeared in the Christchurch District Court on Tuesday facing charges of forgery, theft by person in a special relationship and making false statements as a promoter.

The Serious Fraud Office, which brought the charges, says Hibbs' two investment advisory companies, Cameron Gladstone Investments Limited and Hansa Limited, in about 2008 went from being legitimate enterprises to a Ponzi scheme.

He is accused of providing false information to clients about investments - such as selling investments without their knowledge, or falsely reporting investments had been purchased - and using funds to make payments of capital or investment returns to other clients.

"The SFO alleges that Mr Hibbs went to some lengths to ensure that information provided to investors looked genuine," SFO director Julie Read said.

He will return to court in July.

Hibbs was a private banker who dealt with wealthy clients before leaving banking in 2002 to start his companies, the SFO said.

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