Steven Robertson has today been sentenced to six years, eight months’ imprisonment at the Auckland High Court as a result of an investigation by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA).
In August Mr Robertson was convicted of 38 charges, brought by the Crown under the Crimes Act 1961, relating to PTT Limited and associated entities:
- 23 counts of theft by a person in a special relationship (section 220)
- 11 counts of obtaining by deception (section 240)
- 4 counts of dishonestly using a document (section 228)
Mr Robertson was found to have misappropriated funds deposited by clients who believed that those funds were to be traded on their behalf, or were paid as consideration for the purported purchase of shares in PTT Limited or an associated entity. Mr Robertson was also found to have withdrawn funds from credit card accounts of some clients without the client’s authority and knowledge.
In sentencing Mr Robertson today, Justice Sarah Katz said the Crown case against him was overwhelming and he used his sales skills to deceive clients.
The judge said Mr Robertson’s offending was premeditated and prolonged, it was moderately sophisticated (including the creation of false documents), it was motivated by greed to fund an extravagant lifestyle and he targeted vulnerable people, particularly the elderly, trusting and financially naïve. He held himself as a skilled adviser in financial matters, particularly in relation to trading on financial markets, the judge added.
To reflect the egregiousness of the offending, Justice Katz imposed a minimum period of imprisonment of three years, four months (50% of the term).¹
Karen Chang, FMA Head of Enforcement, said: “Many people suffered as a result of dealing with Mr Robertson and we strongly condemn what he did. The sentencing demonstrates the serious consequences for his criminal conduct.
“We brought this case in part because Mr Robertson was purporting to provide services that would have required him to be an authorised or registered financial adviser. Cases like this can unfairly erode trust in New Zealand’s financial advice sector. We will hold people to account when they fail to adhere to the law.
“We would also like to remind people to take extreme care before investing their hard-earned money and to always use an FMA-licensed provider.”