26 Mar 2019

Man behind ponzi scheme David Ross denied parole

4:32 pm on 26 March 2019

The man who ran the country's largest ponzi scheme has been denied parole and must spend at least another year in jail.

David Ross.

David Ross sought parole on the grounds he had a low risk of reoffending and future offending was unlikely. Photo: RNZ

David Ross ran an investment firm that was later found to have operated as a ponzi scheme between 2000 and 2012.

In November 2013, he was jailed for 10 years and 10 months and ordered to spend at least half that time in jail after the scheme collapsed, leaving investors more than $100 million out of pocket.

Ross became eligible for parole on 27 January and sought parole on the grounds he had a low risk of reoffending and future offending was unlikely.

He argued this was because of the "cumulative effect of [his] notoriety, his disqualification from any involvement in the financial industry and the support he [continued] to enjoy from some (but not all) of his immediate family and friends."

Ross also told the Parole Board that in 2006 an unintended computer error mistakenly but innocently overstated the value of some parts of his clients' portfolios.

He said when he became aware of the error he tried to manage it without telling his clients what had happened and it subsequently snowballed.

The board described this as "at best, a partial explanation for his offending".

A psychological report given to the Board said Ross "appeared able to deceive without apparent anxiety, maintained by the misguided and grandiose belief in his own abilities".

Ross told the Board when he was interviewed for that report he was "guarded".

"Indeed it seems that much of Mr Ross' approach both to the process of preparing for this hearing, and indeed seeking parole, is coloured by his concern that upon his eventual release a substantial number of civil claims await him," the Board said.

When asked by the board, Ross denied the existence of any concealed funds that he would have access to following his release.

The Board declined his application and said low risk was not undue risk.

It said the unprecedented and enormous scale of Ross' offending and the impact it had on his many hundreds of victims, meant the parole conditions were not sufficient to manage the level of risk if he were to be released.

"There is no sure foundation upon which the board could conclude that the same factors which enabled Mr Ross to lie, deceive and steal so comprehensively and for so long, throughout his years of offending, are not still present to an undue level."

Ross will be considered again for parole in one year.

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