New Zealand’s SFO brings charges against FX trader over multi-million dollar fraud

Maria Nikolova

Kelvin Clive Wood is charged with ‘Obtaining by deception’ and ‘Theft by person in a special relationship’.

New Zealand’s Serious Fraud Office has earlier today announced that it had charged Kelvin Clive Wood (69), of Auckland, with fraud that saw his largest investors allegedly lose more than $1 million each.

The defendant entered no plea today at the Auckland District Court to representative charges of ‘Obtaining by deception’ and ‘Theft by person in a special relationship’ brought by the SFO.

Wood is alleged to have facilitated foreign exchange and trading services through two companies – Forex (NZ) Limited and Forex NZ 2000 Limited. His clients placed money with him through his companies for the purpose of fixed interest term deposits, the purchase of foreign currency, general investment and foreign exchange trading purposes. Clients invested on the basis that their principal was not at risk.

According to the SFO allegations, the defendant operated his Ponzi scheme from January 2010 to May 2017 – using new investors’ funds to pay other investors their reported gains, or to refund their principal investment. The SFO estimates that 18 investors lost at least $7 million as a result of the defendant’s offending.

Wood has been remanded on bail until his next appearance at the Auckland District Court on November 13th.

The Financial Markets Authority referred the case to the SFO to investigate in mid-2017.

The New Zealand SFO has been actively prosecuting Forex fraud. In July this year, the SFO confirmed that Lance Jack Ryan was sentenced to seven years and six months in jail, with a minimum non-parole period of three years and nine months, for charges brought by the SFO. Mr Ryan had pleaded guilty earlier to charges of ‘Obtaining by deception’, ‘False accounting’, ‘Forgery’, ‘Reproducing a document with intent to deceive’ and ‘Theft by person in special relationship’.

Lance Jack Ryan, also known as Lance Jared Thompson, used the forex platform BlackfortFX as a façade to persuade more than 900 investors, who were mostly from the Christchurch region, to invest about $8.3 million in the Ponzi scheme.

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