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Ross Pleads Guilty to Running New Zealand’s Biggest Ponzi Scheme

New Zealand financial adviser David Ross pleaded guilty to running the nation’s biggest-ever Ponzi scheme, the Serious Fraud Office said.

Ross, 63, pleaded guilty to four counts of false accounting and one of theft in the Wellington District Court today, the SFO said in an e-mailed statement. He was remanded in custody until Oct. 24, when a sentencing date will be set.

“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 the statement.

The SFO and the Financial Markets Authority brought charges against Ross, alleging he ran a Ponzi scheme through his closely-held Ross Asset Management Ltd., which collapsed in November last year. Ross falsely reported clients’ investments, resulting in an overstatement of more than NZ$380 million ($297 million), the SFO said. More than 1,200 client accounts were affected by the scheme.

Ross also pleaded guilty to FMA charges of providing financial services when unregistered and making false declarations to obtain an authorization.

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