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Man in court over alleged Ponzi scheme

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/10/2016 Edwin Mitson

A man has appeared in Christchurch District Court accused of obtaining $8.3 million in a Ponzi scheme that prosecutors say may have caught out hundreds of people.

The Serious Fraud Office says Jimmie McNicholl has been charged with one count of obtaining by deception. A second person has been charged, but has yet to appear in court.

It says that Arena Capital Limited, trading as BlackfortFX, obtained registration as a financial services provider by deception.

Between May 2014 and May 2015, it is then accused of operating as a facade in which it appeared to offer a foreign exchange trading platform to investors.

The SFO says that no trading was ever undertaken by BlackfortFX.

In May 2015, the Financial Markets Authority got an asset preservation order and appointed a receiver and a liquidator. Arena was liquidated by Christchurch District Court on July 24.

"There are hundreds of potential victims in this scheme whose funds will be at risk," SFO director Julie Read said. "Following the efforts of the FMA to obtain asset preservation orders, the SFO investigation has concluded that there is a serious case to answer regarding the activities of these two people."

Both individuals are due to appear before Christchurch District Court on Nov 17.

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