Today a front page Dominion Post report has called into question an appeal submission by jailed fraudster David Ross‘s lawyer, Gary Turkington, against his client’s sentence of a minimum parole period of five years five months as being “unreasonably crushing” and “manifestly excessive”. Turkington, presenting his case to three Court Judges [see note. 1], questioning the point of such a lengthy minimum term imposed by District Court Judge Denys Barry at Ross’s sentencing on 15 November 2013, for a man in his “twilight years”, and Ross, 64, dwelling without hope in prison. “He’ll emerge with nothing”, he said, as he sought a minimum non-parole period of four years.
The Dompost report has highlighted the fact that Ross’s wife, Jillian Elizabeth Ross, who was jointly indebted with him to Ross Asset Management Ltd (RAM) for $3.49 m, when the company collapsed, has recently bought a four-bedroom two bathroom Lower Hutt home with her brother for $725,00, after she pocketed nearly $900,000 from the sale of the family’s former $2.2m mansion at 105 Woburn Rd, Lower Hutt.
Liquidator John Fisk, of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), settled the debt to RAM, for half the proceeds of the sale of the Ross’s family home on Woburn Road. Jillian Elizabeth Ross was a director of RAM from 22/12/89 to 01/07/97 and joint shareholder with her husband (50:50) up until the time the company was put into receivership with PwC on 9 November 2012.
RAM Investors Group head Bruce Tichbon said the evidence suggested Jillian Ross’s new home, with her husband’s initials appearing on the phone listing in the White Pagers, was intended for Ross to live in as well, which left him “absolutely heart-sick”. The 63-year-old father-of-five had already lost money with failed companies Bridgecorp, St Laurence and Strategic Finance and told the NZ Herald last year that he was determined to see those at the top held to account.
RAM (RAM), fleeced more than 700 investors through a portfolio to which they thought they had more than $380m. David Robert Gilmour Ross , former manager of RAM, was responsible for the single biggest individual fraud in New Zealand’s history and was sentenced by Judge Denys Barry in the Wellington District Court on 15 November 2013, to jail for 10 years and 10 months, after pleading guilty to five Serious Fraud Office (SFO) charges. They were false accounting and fraud and three from the Financial Markets Authority of providing a financial service when he was not registered to do so, made false or misleading statements to get authorisation as a financial adviser and supplying information to the authority that he knew to be false or misleading. The SFO charges alleged Ross ran a Ponzi scheme, which he disguised by falsely reporting clients’ investments. Large portions of client portfolios were shown as invested through a non-existent broker ‘Bevis Marks’, resulting in a $380 million overstatement of investment positions. More than 1200 RAM (Ross Asset Management) client accounts had been affected by the scheme. The SFO reported that David Ross’s offending – resulted in over $115.5 million of his client’s money being lost.
Primary Sources: Dominion Post, Thursday 12 July 2014. P. A1.
Available on line: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/10146630/Ross-will-emerge-with-nothing
Also see: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/9404319/Fraud-victims-lash-out-at-David-Ross
1. Court of Appeal Judge – Hon. Justice French; and two High Court Judges Hon Justice Mallon and Hon. Justice Venning