Friday 20th December 2013
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The liquidators for the Ross Asset Management group of companies found to be a Ponzi scheme are in talks with three former investors over about $3.8 million of payments they received in the two years leading up to the group's eventual collapse last year.
PwC's John Fisk and David Bridgman are looking at transactions they might be able to reverse as they seek to claw back as much of the $100 million to $115 million that was lost in the fraudulent scheme for some 1,200 investors. The liquidators are also looking at other payments for further review, and if the claim against the three succeeds, they will likely seek more repayments.
Fisk and Bridgman have written to three RAM investors requesting the money be repaid and "are in discussions with or seeking further information from all three recipients as a result of our demands," they said in their second liquidator's report on the Ross group.
"If no suitable resolutions can be reached we intend to issue notices to have the payments set aside and then take steps to recover the monies from those recipients," they said.
This week, David Ross's lawyer indicated the convicted fraudster plans to appeal the 10-year 10-month jail sentence as manifestly excessive. His record sentence was delivered last month, and included a five-year five-month non-parole period.
Ross Asset Management's assets were frozen and receivers appointed last year by the FMA after the watchdog received complaints about delayed or non-payment of investor funds. Ross wasn't available in the early days of the investigation due to his hospitalisation under the Mental Health Act.
Fisk and Bridgman said in their report they had not found any evidence that anyone other than David Ross was a party to the fraud.
Last month, the High Court in Wellington extended asset preservation orders over the assets of Ross, RAM and related entities to include DRG Ross Family Trust, also known as the David Robert Gilmour Ross Family Trust.
PwC's John Fisk and David Bridgman were appointed to preserve the assets of the Ross family and related trusts as part of the wider investigation into Ross Asset Management.
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