Ponzi scheme mastermind gets 8-year prison term in New Zealand

Maria Nikolova

Paul Hibbs, owner and operator of Cameron Gladstone Investments Limited and Hansa Limited, was sentenced today at the Christchurch District Court.

A Ponzi scheme operator who defrauded investors of more than $17.5 million was sentenced today at the Christchurch District Court, the New Zealand Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has announced.

Paul Hibbs, who owned and operated Cameron Gladstone Investments Limited and Hansa Limited, has been sentenced to eight years in prison with a minimum non-parole period of four years. As FinanceFeeds has reported, Mr Hibbs had previously pleaded guilty to charges of ‘False statement by promoter’, ‘Theft by person in special relationship’, ‘Using forged documents’ and ‘Forgery’.

Paul Hibbs was employed for a number of years as a private banker, dealing with high net worth individuals, buying and selling shares and managing clients’ investment portfolios. He left banking in 2002 and launched the investment advisory businesses, Cameron Gladstone Investments Limited, and later, Hansa Limited. Through these entities, he provided clients with false investment reports and used their funds for unauthorised activities, which included using the proceeds from sales of clients’ investments to pay other investors. Mr Hibbs also used client money for business expenses, including paying dividends, and for personal purposes.

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

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 Cameron Gladstone Investments Limited was also involved in the fraud.

Commenting on today’s sentence, SFO Director, Julie Read said:

“The sentence imposed today reflects the very serious nature of the offending. Mr Hibbs deceived his clients in a number of ways resulting in significant monetary losses. The prosecution of such matters is an important aspect of protecting New Zealand’s reputation as a safe place to invest and do business. People engaged in this sort of misconduct will be prosecuted and held to account.”

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