New Zealand Ponzi scheme mastermind pleads guilty to theft, forgery charges

Maria Nikolova

Paul Clifford Hibbs has pleaded guilty to all of the charges, including ‘False statement by promoter’, ‘Theft by person in special relationship’, ‘Using forged documents’ and ‘Forgery’.

A followup to FinanceFeeds’ earlier report on the court proceedings against Ponzi scheme mastermind Paul Clifford Hibbs…

The New Zealand Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced today that Mr Hibbs has appeared in the Christchurch District Court today and pleaded guilty in a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecution.

Paul Clifford Hibbs faced Crime Act charges of ‘False statement by promoter’, ‘Theft by person in special relationship’, ‘Using forged documents’ and ‘Forgery’. He has pleaded guilty to all of those charges and has been remanded in custody until sentencing.

As previously reported, Mr Hibbs owned and operated Cameron Gladstone Investments Limited and Hansa Limited. Under the allegations, from around 2008, Cameron Gladstone Investments Limited and Hansa Limited, developed into a Ponzi scheme. Mr Hibbs provided clients with false reports with regard to their investments – for example, he sold investments without clients’ knowledge, he falsely reported the proceeds of sales were held in cash management accounts or investments had been purchased. The SFO alleges that Mr Hibbs used investors’ funds for purposes other than required – he used clients’ funds to make payments of capital or investment returns to other clients, a typical feature of Ponzi schemes.

The legal action comes after investors who suspected their money was misappropriated reported the matter to the New Zealand Financial Markets Authority (FMA). Last year, FMA published a notice about investigating Hansa and Mr Hibbs and asked for more information from investors.

According to media reports, at least $20 million were missing from Hansa’s accounts. Both Cameron Gladstone Investments Limited and Hansa Limited have been put into liquidation.

According to the first report by the liquidators of Hansa, the company failed to invest and manage the funds in line with the agreements signed with investors. Instead the company was run as a Ponzi scheme and and Cameron Gladstone Investments Limited was also involved in the fraud.

Mr Hibbs will reappear for sentencing in the Christchurch District Court on February 7, 2018.

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