A Christchurch investment fund manager who defrauded 150 investors of more than $80 million has been sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in jail.
Kelly Simon Tonkin, 52, pleaded guilty in the Christchurch District Court to representative charges of false accounting, false statements, and forgery brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
He was given a minimum non-parole period of four years and three months.
“This case was significant for both the scale of the fraud and the number of victims who were impacted by Mr Tonkin’s offending,” SFO director Julie Read said.
Tonkin, a former economist, controlled, made the investing decisions, and reported on the performance of the Penrich Global Macro Fund, registered in the Cayman Islands, a Caribbean tax haven.
The company invested in a broad range of high-risk foreign exchange and fixed income products.
The fund started to perform poorly from 2012 and to cover mounting losses, retain current investors and recruit new ones Tonkin inflated the value of assets, leading investors to believe they were making money, when in fact they were losing value.
“When it became clear his fund was not performing well, Mr Tonkin not only concealed this from investors and his company but sought further investments based on his fraudulent accounts. He used these funds to attempt to trade his way out of his losses, but in doing so dug himself and his investors into deeper financial trouble,” Read said.