The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has welcomed two court decisions that will see victims of convicted fraudsters Steven Robertson and Rodney McCall receive a portion of their money back. Mr McCall has also been sentenced to 12 months’ home detention for his crimes.
On Friday, the Auckland High Court approved a pro-rata distribution methodology for creditors of PTT Limited, Mr Robertson and his associated entities. The methodology was proposed by the receivers and liquidators of PTT, and supported by the FMA as being in the interests of victims. Receivers and liquidators estimate that victims will be likely to receive around 59 cents in the dollar.
Separately, Mr McCall, also known as Rodney Crichton, was yesterday sentenced in the Manukau District Court to 12 months’ home detention and to repay victims $70,031 for convincing people to ‘invest’ in him and spending their money on himself. Mr McCall’s offending was separate to Mr Robertson’s, although his initial victims had also invested in PTT Limited.
Nick Kynoch, FMA General Counsel, said the FMA recognised many victims of Robertson and McCall had suffered significant losses and distress. The regulator was pleased these investors would soon start to receive some of their money back.
“Victims of Robertson and McCall had their trust abused and many were plunged into financial uncertainty as a result, some fearing for their retirement prospects. Mr McCall’s sentence reflects the consequences for continuing the PTT scam. He reinvented the scam through a new entity, despite being aware of the FMA’s investigation into PTT and Mr Robertson. This allowed him to continue to target mainly elderly people solely for his own personal gain, many of whom were re-victimised, having been subject to Mr Robertson’s fraud in the first instance.
“In addition, Mr McCall lied to FMA investigators in an attempt to avoid detection so he could continue to perpetuate his scam. We would like to thank investors who came forward and assisted with the investigation.
“We urge New Zealanders to take extreme care before investing their money and to always use an FMA-licensed provider.”
Asset preservation of PTT
In August 2015, the FMA obtained asset preservation orders over the assets of PTT Limited, Steven Robertson and entities and trusts associated with Mr Robertson – as part of an investigation into PTT Limited and Mr Robertson. The FMA took this step out of concerns that client funds may have been at risk.
Receivers were appointed shortly afterwards and in December 2015 the receivers applied to have PTT Limited and associated entities placed into liquidation.
The High Court’s decision regarding the distribution to creditors can be read here.
Rodney McCall’s offending
Mr McCall cold called people and convinced them to ‘invest’ by transferring money into bank accounts he controlled. The money paid to him was instead spent by him on personal expenditure.
His initial victims had also invested in PTT Limited, an entity Mr McCall had previously worked for and was operated by Mr Robertson, who was imprisoned for Crimes Act breaches after a prosecution by the FMA.
In June, Mr McCall plead guilty to:
- Two representative charges of obtaining by deception under section 240 of the Crimes Act 1961;
- One representative charge of dishonestly using a document under section 228 of the Crimes Act 1961; and
- Two charges of obstruction of the FMA’s powers under section 61(1)(b) of the Financial Markets Authority Act 2011.
The FMA filed charges against Mr McCall in May 2019.
After incorporating a company, Morgan Cooper Limited, Mr McCall contacted other investors to promote a foreign exchange investment service which did not exist. Neither he, nor his company was authorised or licensed by the FMA, but he claimed he would invest funds on investors’ behalf.
Mr McCall also obstructed the exercise of the FMA’s powers during the investigation by providing false evidence in purported compliance with a notice issued to him under section 25 of the Financial Markets Authority Act 2011.
PTT’s director, Mr Robertson, was last year sentenced to six years, eight months’ imprisonment, with a minimum term of three years and four months’ imprisonment. Mr Robertson’s appeal to reduce his sentence was rejected by the Court of Appeal.