Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Struck-off lawyer admits $2.8m Ponzi scheme

Collapse
X
Collapse
  •  

  • Lawyer admits $2.8m Ponzi scheme

    A Dunedin lawyer has today admitted being behind a Ponzi scheme where he stole $2.8 million from clients over 21 years.
    John David Milne, a 79-year-old lawyer from Dunedin, admitted the long-term fraud on the morning his Christchurch District Court trial was set to begin.He pleaded guilty to 34 charges laid by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) that included theft by a person in special relationship and misappropriation of funds.

    A summary of facts will be ready for when Milne is sentenced on November 28.The SFO says Milne elicited money from clients or associates on the premise that he would invest that money and pay them a return on their invested funds.
    But none of that money had been invested and some early investors had been repaid with monies received from later clients. Milne had a client base in Dunedin derived from his previous legal work in a sole practice there.

    He operated the scheme from 1991 to 2012, and the charges relate to a $2.8m. The court heard today that there have been losses of around $2m, but as he entered his pleas, Milne said that some of that money has been paid back. A complaint to the SFO was received from the New Zealand Law Society Otago Standards Committee regarding Milne's activities around client funds in June 2012.

    In April last year, a Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal decided to strike him off its roll of barristers and solicitors.
    Standards committee lawyers argued he was not a fit and proper person to be a lawyer and should be struck off.
    The tribunal panel agreed, concluding after a short hearing that Milne had breached trust and fundamental obligations of a lawyer, causing substantial stress to clients.New Zealand Law Society President Chris Moore said the alleged gross abuse of trust was "reprehensible".

    In 2012, Dunedin solicitor Alistair Paterson launched an "affected persons' register" to collate the names and extent of loans made to Milne. Milne was then adjudged bankrupt in the High Court at Christchurch in November 2012.

    He had his own Dunedin legal practice from 1960 until it was bought out by another local law firm, Craig Paddon Law, in 2008.
    He worked in their Christchurch office from 2008, but left in June last year.The SFO said Milne's scheme involved him eliciting money from clients or associates on the premise that he would invest that money and pay them a return on their invested funds.

    "Mr Milne's activity had hallmarks of a Ponzi scheme as he had in fact been paying investors from funds received for investment from other clients. Mr Milne had not actually invested any of his clients' money," an SFO statement said today.
    SFO director Julie Read said clients who trusted Milne were keen to be involved with a scheme that paid such good returns.
    "Mr Milne's victims were vulnerable, and although there is a sense of relief that he has pleaded guilty, for many it is too late to recover from the impact of his dishonesty," she said.


    Credit-APNZ
      Posting comments is disabled.

    Latest Articles

    Collapse

    • Judge Goddard refuses to answer MPs' questions
      by admin
      The former New Zealand judge who headed a UK inquiry into child sexual abuse has said she will not appear before British MPs to answer questions about her time in charge. Dame Lowell Goddard said for her to be summoned would compromise the inquiry's "independence and integrity". She also hit out at "malicious, defamatory attacks" by the British media and said she was disappointed the government had not defended her. British MPs have asked the former head of the child sex abuse inquiry to expl...
      11-11-2016, 11:47 AM
    • Judge Lowell Goddard's epic fail
      by admin
      Dame Lowell Goddard, the New Zealand judge who resigned last week as chair of the 100 million (N$183.5m) Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), did not leave her post voluntarily but was effectively fired. Dame Lowell, appointed by then-Home Secretary Theresa May just over a year ago, had already lost the confidence of senior staff and members of the inquiry panel, according to two well-placed legal sources. The Home Office has denied she was sacked, according to reports. After she ...
      09-08-2016, 10:07 AM
    • Sir Ngatata Love's lawyer claims agreement had no impact on Trust
      by admin
      Sir Ngatata Love's lawyer Colin Carruthers QC says the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) theory against his client is wrong, with a key agreement placing no financial cost on the Wellington Tenths Trust. The former leading Treaty of Waitangi negotiator and academic is on trial in the High Court at Wellington, accused of obtaining funds by deception, or alternatively of obtaining a secret commission.The charges relate to allegations that Love showed favour to Auckland property developer Redwood, and ...
      05-08-2016, 01:44 PM
    • Transport boss pleads guilty to corruption charges
      by admin
      The Serious Fraud Office says the guilty plea yesterday by an Auckland Council manager to corruption charges shows the dangers in not questioning a culture of gratuities. Barrie Kenneth James George, 69, this morning at the High Court at Auckland pleaded guilty to two charges of accepting bribes as a public official when he took gifts worth $103,580 between 2005 and 2012. The gifts included cash, and lavish overseas holidays for George and his family. SFO Director, Julie Read welcomed the guilty plea...
      04-08-2016, 09:40 AM
    • Identities of corrupt JP's stay secret
      by admin
      The identities of Justices of the Peace disciplined for incompetence, making false allegations or misusing their title for personal gain are being kept secret by the Ministry of Justice.In the case of the above JP Denis Selwyn Callesen of Keri Keri, the Crown Law Office even halted a private prosecution against Mr Callessen after evidence emerged that Mr Callessen and his former secretary Robin Morris had perverted the course of justice.

      The Ministry believes the privacy of...
      23-07-2016, 11:35 AM
    • Government funded escape artist Philip Smith found guilty
      by admin
      The murderer who embarrassed New Zealand law and border authorities by flying to Brazil while on temporary release from prison has been convicted for the audacious escape. Charges of escaping lawful custody and making a false statement to renew a passport have been added to Phillip John Smith's lengthy criminal record, along with murder, child sex abuse, kidnapping, tax fraud and arson. In an unusual legal procedure, a jury was chosen at the Auckland District Court today and the judge immedia...
      22-07-2016, 01:05 PM
    Working...
    X